Encyclopedia of Polymeric Nanomaterials

Living Edition
| Editors: Shiro Kobayashi, Klaus Müllen

Monomers, Oligomers, Polymers, and Macromolecules (Overview)

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-36199-9_237-1



A polymer is a molecule of high molecular weight, the structure of which essentially comprises the multiple repetition of units derived, actually or conceptually, from molecules of low molecular weight. Polymers range from synthetic polymers to natural biopolymers such as DNA and proteins. An oligomer is a molecule that consists of a few monomer units. “Macromolecule” is used for individual molecules of high molecular weight and “polymer” is used to denote a substance composed of macromolecules.


Polymeric materials have existed as fundamental components of plants and animals from time immemorial. The human beings have used these natural polymeric materials in food, clothing, and houses from the most ancient times and have then developed synthetic materials such as Celluloid®, Bakelite®, rayon, and rubber [1]. However, we did not know real structures of these polymeric materials before the beginning of the last...


Ethylene Oxide Coordination Polymerization Vinyl Ether Vinyl Monomer Anionic Polymerization 
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    Ravve A (2012) Principles of polymer chemistry, 3nd edn. Springer New York Heidelberg Dordrecht, LondonGoogle Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and Materials Technology, Graduate School of Science and TechnologyKyoto Institute of TechnologySakyo-ku/KyotoJapan