Difference Between Addition and Condensation Polymerization

Bookmark added to your notes.
View Notes
×

What is the Addition Polymer?

Before we look at the difference between addition polymerization and condensation polymerization, it is important to understand exactly what addition polymers and condensation polymers are. This would give the readers an idea of what is addition polymerization and what is condensation polymerization.

According to experts, an addition polymer is a polymer that is formed by simply linking monomers. This is done without the co-generation of other by-products. Further, it is important to note that addition polymers can be formed through chain polymerization. This is done when the polymer is formed by sequentially adding different monomer units to an active site of chain reaction.

These results can also be achieved through polyaddition. Polyaddition refers to the process in which polymers are formed by carrying out an addition reaction between species of all degrees of polymerization.

It is also important to note that, usually, almost all polymers are unsaturated compounds - some examples of this include alkalines and alkenes. The process of addition polymerization also mainly takes place through the process of free radical mechanism.

This process is done in three steps. These three steps are the initiation of free radical, chain propagation, and termination of the chain.


Some Examples of Addition Polymers

Some examples of addition polymers are mentioned below. (Have to include images in this section. The images were taken from Google Images)

  1. Polyethylene

[Image will be uploaded soon]

  1. Polystyrene

[Image will be uploaded soon]

  1. Methacrylates

[Image will be uploaded soon]


What is Condensation Polymer?

Condensation polymers, on the other hand, are formed by linking monomers. However, the difference exists in the fact that this process generates various other products. In most cases, these products include water.

These polymers are formed by carrying out condensation reactions. In this reaction, the molecules are joined together by losing small molecules as by-products. The most commonly lost molecules in this reaction are water and methanol.

Another process related to the formation of condensation polymers is polycondensation. In this process, the polymers are formed when condensation reactions are carried out between species of all degrees of polymerization.

This process can also be done through condensative chain polymerization. In condensative chain polymerization, the polymers are formed by sequential addition or the condensation reaction of the monomers to an active site in a chain reaction.

The other important and alternative forms of polymerization are polyaddition and chain polymerization. Both of these processes can also be used to get addition polymers.

It is important for readers to remember that condensation polymerization is a type of step-growth polymerization. This means that linear polymers are produced from bifunctional monomers, which refers to compounds with two reactive end groups.

Some examples of common condensation polymers are polyacetals, proteins, and polyamides. This is almost everything that students need to know about addition and condensation polymers. We will also discuss some questions related to addition and condensation polymers in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section later.


Some Examples of Condensation Polymers

Some examples of condensation polymers are mentioned below. (Have to include images in this section. The images are taken from Google Images)

  1. Cellulose

[Image will be uploaded soon]

  1. Starch

[Image will be uploaded soon]


What is the difference between Addition and Condensation Polymerization?

Now, readers must understand the meaning of addition and condensation polymers. So, the next obvious step is to discuss the difference between addition polymerization and condensation polymerization.

To help readers understand the difference between addition polymerization and condensation polymerization, we have created a list of differences. But before that, let’s start at the very beginning.

Polymerization is defined as the process of combining a large number of small molecules to form a single macromolecule. There are integral steps and products used in this process. One such important product is called a monomer. Monomers are small molecules that act as building blocks of polymers.

Based on this kind of reaction, one can state that polymerization is divided into two groups. These two groups are addition polymerization and condensation polymerization. The addition polymerization definition is that this is the process of repeated addition of monomers. These monomers possess double or triple bonds to form polymers.

On the other hand, condensation polymerization is a process that involves the repeated condensation reactions between tri-functional or bi-functional monomers. Let’s look at the table below to understand the difference between both of these polymerization reaction groups.

Addition Polymerization

Condensation Polymerization

Monomers should either have a double or triple bond

Monomers must have either two similar or different functional groups

No by-products are produced in this reaction

By-products are produced in this process. Some by-products include ammonia, water, and HCl

This process also results in the addition of monomers to form polymers

In this process, monomers are condensed to form polymers

If one wishes to find out the molecular weight of the final polymers, then all one needs to do is multiply the molecular weight of all monomers

The total molecular weight of the final product cannot be found by multiplying the molecular weight of all the monomers

In addition polymerization, Lewis acids, Lewis bases, and radical initiators are used as catalysts

Different molecules are used as catalysts in the process of condensation polymerization

Some common examples of addition polymerization are polyethylene, Teflon, and PVC

Some common examples of condensation polymerization are bakelite, nylon, and silicon

From this table, it must be quite obvious that the main difference between both addition and condensation polymerization is that in the case of addition polymerization, the polymers are formed through the addition of monomers. This process does not involve the formation of any by-products.

Condensation polymerization, on the other hand, forms polymers through the process of condensation. In this process, more than one different monomers are used to form small molecules like HCl, water, and ammonia as by-products.


Fun Facts about Addition Polymerization and Condensation Polymerization

Till now, we have looked at the difference between addition polymer and condensation polymer and the meaning of addition and condensation polymerization. We will also look at some questions related to this topic.

Before that, it is important for readers to learn about the difference between addition polymer and condensation polymer and the meaning of addition and condensation polymerization. Let’s learn some interesting facts about the difference between addition and condensation polymers.

Did you know that addition polymers are usually chemically inert? You might also be interested to know that addition polymers include strong C-C bonds. Because of this reason, these polymers are non-biodegradable and very difficult to recycle.

On the other hand, condensation polymers tend to be more biodegradable. This is because the backbone of those molecules contains weaker bonds. This means that the peptide or ester bonds between the monomers can be hydrolyzed. This can be done in the presence of catalysts or bacterial enzymes.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Mention the reaction that is accompanied by the removal of by-products during the formation of polymers.

Answer. The reaction that results in the elimination of by-products while forming polymers is condensation polymerization. In this process, the molecules that are removed are water and HCl.

2. Is the chain growth process usually much slower than the step-growth process? If not, then why?

Answer: In truth, the chain growth process is usually much slower than the addition reaction. This is because the chain growth process is usually followed by an equilibrium step process.

3. Mention the process in which the molecular weight of polymers almost remains unchanged while the entire process progresses.

Answer: In the addition polymerization process the total molecular weight of the polymers remains almost unchanged with the increasing conversion. Further, the total molecular weight of the polymers increases during the step-growth process.

4. In the process of addition polymerization, what does the entire reaction contain at any point in time?

Answer: At any point in time, the process of addition polymerization contains free radical chains and initiators, full-grown polymer molecules, and unreacted monomer molecules.