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Polymers in Building Construction

Article and photos by Gregory HavelPlastics are part of a class of chemicals called “polymers”--giant molecules made up of thousands of smaller molecules of chemicals called “monomers,” which are unstable and have the ability to react with themselves to form the much larger polymer molecules. Monomers and polymers are hydrocarbons, a type of organic chemical. Polymers can be either naturally occurring, like the cellulose that makes up wood, cotton, paper, and cardboard, or man-made synthetics, like vinyl, styrene, and acrylics. Most man-made polymers begin their life as petroleum-based chemicals called “monomers.” During transportation of mono...

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