Difference between monomer and polymer

Main difference

When you learn about polymers, the most common are synthetic polymers like polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (PS), and nylon that are used to make rubber and other plastic products. But when it comes to differentiating between polymers and monomers, you have to know what both materials are. As the prefixes say in both words, mono means one or only, while ploy means many. The monomer is the smallest molecule that is considered the building block that is chemically bonded to form polymers. Many monomers combine from macromolecules called polymers.

Comparative chart

Monomer Polymer
Definition It is a smaller molecule that can join with other identical or other monomers to form a macromolecule called polymers. Polymers are large molecules or macromolecules that are made up of single repeating units, monomers.
Molecular weight Less Plus
Example nucleotides, fatty acids, monosaccharides, amino acids nucleic acids, lipids, carbohydrates, proteins
Boiling point and mechanical resistance Less Plus

What is monomer?

It is a smaller molecule that can join with other identical or other monomers to form a macromolecule called polymers. They are the simplest basic unit that combine together chemically or supramolecularly to form complex structures called polymers. As the prefix in monomer says, they are the individual units that may not seem of much importance, but they combine to form polymers, which perform various functions in the body. Biopolymers or biomonomers are materials produced by living organisms or extracted from diets. Some of the examples of monomers that form biopolymers are nucleotides that form nucleic acids, fatty acids that form lipids, monosaccharides that form carbohydrates, and amines that form proteins. When two types of monomers combine to form polymers, the monomers in this case are called dimers, and when a few dozen monomers combine to form polymers, this system is called an ‘oligomer’. Polymer units can also revert to monomer after decomposition.

What is polymer?

Polymers are large molecules or macromolecules that are made up of single repeating units, monomers. They have a wide range of properties and that is why they fulfill various functions in living organisms and are even used in the production of useful materials such as rubber and other plastic products. Polymers are mainly of two types, synthetic and natural polymers (biopolymers). Examples of synthetic polymers are polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (PS), and nylon, while examples of biopolymers are nucleic acids, lipids, carbohydrates, and proteins. Biopolymers are polymers that are produced by living organisms to perform various functions or are taken from the intake of living organisms from the diet. Since we know that the smallest individual molecular units, monomers form polymers. The polymer made can be composed of a single similar unit (monomers) or different types of individual units can combine to normally form a chain-like structure called a polymer. The polymer formed by repeating a similar type of polymer is called a “homopolymer.” The process through which polymer monomers are called polymerization.

Monomer vs. Polymer

  • The monomer is the smallest molecule that is considered the building block that is chemically bonded to form polymers.
  • Polymers are complex macromolecules with a very high molecular weight compared to monomers.
  • Some of the examples of monomers that form biopolymers are nucleotides that form nucleic acids, fatty acids that form lipids, monosaccharides that form carbohydrates, and amines that form proteins.
  • Polymers generally have higher boiling points, higher mechanical strengths, and form a stronger chemical bond than monomers.

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