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A Little Book about BIG Chemistry in pdf


Download this PDF book: A Little Book about BIG Chemistry: The Story of Man-Made Polymers (SpringerBriefs in Materials) 1st ed. 2017 Edition by Jim Massy

This little book is addressed to anyone keen to know how everyday plastic materials came to be discovered and the basic chemistry underlying them. 

It gives a broad view of man-made polymers, thermoplastic, thermosetting and elastomeric and includes examples of their use in unexpected fields such as water softening and protein synthesis. Readers should preferably be familiar with organic chemical structures and know something about the chemistry of simple reactions such as esterification. 

Many will know much more and must forgive me if the treatment is sometimes too simplistic. This book was first available in October 2013 as an electronic edition (eBook) from Apple’s iBooks Store. It is now replaced by this print edition which has been revised and corrected as necessary. 

For reference purposes there is a detailed list of Contents and Acronyms at the beginning of the book and a full Index at the end. Where there are several index entries, those page numbers in bold type refer to the principal text items. Also at the end of the book there are Suggestions for Further Reading, a Glossary and References. 

The idea for the book arose from a talk which I gave to sixth formers at several UK schools. I always found there was more material than could be crammed into a 45 min session. 

In particular I was keen to show the chronological development of polymers over the years, but this was almost impossible in one session. Eventually I listed a time line of the major polymers with notes on each and offered it as a separate resource. 

That list is now presented in Chap. 12, The Chronology of Polymers. The early chapters of the book have a high historical content, but later ones concentrate on more general aspects of polymers, such as factors affecting their physical properties (Chap. 7).

The brief explains in simple terms the essentials of polymer chemistry and how polymers came to be discovered by pioneers in this field. It relates the many uses of polymers, including those not widely recognised by the lay person.

The chemistry of polymerisation and the influence of chemical structure and additives on properties are described. Ethical issues are considered, especially in the context of huge tonnages of plastics. Finally short paragraphs on more than 30 common polymers are listed chronologically with chemical structures, properties and applications. 

It will appeal to those with connections to or within the plastics, rubber and textile industries, science students, members of other science disciplines using polymers, as well as people just curious to know about everyday plastics.


1 Big Molecules

2 Rubber in the 19th Century

3 Cellulose and Casein in the 19th Century

4 Macromolecules in the 20th Century

5 Thermoplastic and Thermosetting Polymers

6 The Burgeoning of Modern Plastics

7 Physical Properties of Polymers

8 Chemical Properties of Polymers

9 Initiation of Polymerization

10 Copolymers

11 Ethical Issues

12 The Chronology of Polymers

13 Summary and Conclusions

About the Author

Derek James Rowland (aka Jim) Massy worked mainly in industrial polymer research, with an emphasis on surface coatings and textile chemicals. Following an uninvited early retirement, he studied further at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and gained a PhD in 1986. 

Thereafter he spent his time doing organic synthesis of varied types in pharmaceutical research and at the UEA until a more normal retirement age beckoned.

About the book:

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Springer; 1st ed. 2017 edition (May 22, 2017)

Language ‏ : ‎ English

Pages ‏ : ‎ 102 

File : PDF, 10MB


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