Polymers have always existed since the dawn of ages, but the ones that man made appeared only in the nineteenth century. Nowadays they are omnipresent and unavoidable. Our aim today is to focus on their nature and their applications.
[/h2]What are polymers ?[/size]
Polymers are substances constituted of molecules consisting of a repeating chain of smaller units called monomers. Polymers have been around us ever since the earth was created. Rubber, starch and cellulose all have polymeric properties. Even human DNA is a polymer. These substances have been studied by man way back in the nineteenth century, and at the time being, the polymer industry is size-wise far more important than steel, copper and aluminium industries combined. Polymers are more and more used as a substitute for conventional material systems or when needed associated with conventional materials in order to create performing hybrid systems.
[/h2]The range of applications[/size]
It is quite difficult nowadays to imagine a world without polymers as they are everywhere. As science progresses, there is absolutely no reason to think that the source should dry up. Polymers have a wide range of applications. Just to give a few examples, polymers like pollyurethane or Dacron are used in medecine for replacements of heart valves or blood vessels. In the area of sports, they are used for buiding playgrounds, swimming pools, various types of balls etc.
[/h2]The testing of materials[/size]
Of course, every single new material ought to be tested before they are put on the market. Producers must then prove extensive polymer analysis competencies in order to be competitive. Should it be in the automotive industry or the aeronautic and space industry or the usual consumer products, every single product must undergo testings. These range from creep and stress relaxation tests to rheological analysis or dynamic mechanical analysis... These tests are made in order to control and to measure the mechanical propreties of polymers and in particular their viscoelastic properties.