Difference Between Monomer and Polymer

Main Difference

When one hears about the polymers, the most common thing comes in mind is the synthetic polymers like polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (PS), and nylon which are used for making rubber and other plastic products. But when it is about differentiating it between the polymers and monomers one should know that what both these materials are. As the prefixes in both the words tell, mono means one or single, whereas ploy means many. Monomer is the smaller molecule that is refereed as the building block it binds chemically to form polymers. Many monomers get combine to from the macromolecules called polymer. The polymer made can either be made up of the similar single unit (monomers) or different types of single units can get combine to form usually a chain like structure called polymer.

Comparison Chart

MonomerPolymer
DefinitionIt is a smaller molecule that can be bonded with other identical or other type of monomers to form a macromolecule called, polymers.Polymers are the large molecules or macromolecules that is made up of repeated single units, monomers.
Molecular WeightLessMore
Examplenucleotides, fatty acids, monosaccharides, aminosnucleic acids, lipids, carbohydrates, proteins
Boiling point & Mechanical StrengthLessMore

What is Monomer?

It is a smaller molecule that can be bonded with other identical or other type of monomers to form a macromolecule called, polymers. They are the simpler basic unit that combine with each other chemically or supramolecularly to from the complex structures called polymers. As the prefix in monomer tells, they are the single units that might not be seen of much importance, but they combine to form polymers, which perform various function in the body. The biopolymers or biomonomers are the materials produced by the living organisms or are taken from the diets. Some of the examples of monomers forming biopolymers are nucleotides forming nucleic acids, fatty acids forming lipids, monosaccharides forming carbohydrates, and aminos forming proteins. When two types of monomers combine together to form polymers, the monomers is this case are called dimers, and when few dozens of monomers combine to from polymers, this system is called ‘oligomer’. Polymer units can also get back as monomer after breaking down.

What is Polymer?

Polymers are the large molecules or macromolecules that is made up of repeated single units, monomers. They have broad range of properties and that is why they perform various functions in living organisms and even are used in production of useful materials like rubber and other plastic products. Mainly polymers are of two types, synthetic polymers and natural (biopolymers). Examples of synthetic polymers are polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (PS), and nylon, whereas examples of biopolymers are nucleic acids, lipids, carbohydrates and proteins. The biopolymers are the polymers that are produced by the living organisms for performing various functions or they are taken from the diet living organisms intake. As we know that the smaller molecular single units, monomers form polymers. The polymer made can either be made up of the similar single unit (monomers) or different types of single units can get combine to form usually a chain like structure called polymer. The polymer made up with repetition of similar type of polymer is called ‘homo-polymer’. The process through which monomers from polymer is called polymerization.

Monomer vs. Polymer

  • Monomer is the smaller molecule that is refereed as the building block it binds chemically to form polymers.
  • Polymers are complex macromolecules with very high molecular weight as compare to the monomers.
  • Some of the examples of monomers forming biopolymers are nucleotides forming nucleic acids, fatty acids forming lipids, monosaccharides forming carbohydrates, and aminos forming proteins.
  • Polymers usually have higher boiling points, higher mechanical strengths and form stronger chemical bond than the monomers.

Comparison Video

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Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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