Skip Navigation Linkschemical intelligence : polymers, rubbers & resins


Rubber Chemicals, Polymer Chemical & Resins Information from ICIS

Polymers are long chains of repeating molecules, or monomers, held together by covalent chemical bonds. In most cases, the number of repeating monomers is very large, as much as hundreds of thousands.


Polymer nomenclature is generally based upon the type of monomers comprising the polymer, for example, polyethylene from ethylene, polypropylene from propylene, etc. Polymers that contain only a single monomer are known as homopolymers (e.g. polystyrene) while polymers containing a mixture of monomers are known as copolymers (e.g. ethylene-vinyl acetate). Synthetic polymers can be thermoplastic, i.e. repeatedly softened on heating, or thermoset, i.e. softened only once.


Polymers can be formed into different shapes by moulding or extrusion processes to make structural components. They can be formed into filaments or threads to make textiles, carpets, yarns and ropes, and they can be made into elastomers which return into their original shape after being extended or compressed by force. They are also used in paints and coatings, adhesives and lubricants.


The main commodity polymers include polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (PS), acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polycarbonate (PC).


Synthetic rubber is a man-made polymer material which acts as an elastomer. Synthetic rubbers can be used as a substitute for natural rubber in many cases or when improved material properties are needed. They can be made by the polymerisation of a number of monomers including butadiene, isoprene and chloroprene. The two main synthetic rubbers manufactured from butadiene are styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) and polybutadiene rubber (BR).


Synthetic or man-made fibres can be produced from natural or synthetic materials. The fibres are created by forcing the fibre-forming material through holes to form threads. Polymer fibres, which are usually based on petrochemicals, can be made from materials such as polyamide/nylon, polyester and polypropylene.

Links to other Polymers, Rubbers & Resins Browse other Chemical Categories
ICIS Newsletters

ICIS offers a range of FREE e-newsletters to ensure that you don't miss out on the latest developments and key market intelligence in your industry. If you want the latest news on your market, sign up for ICIS e-newsletters today.

Free trial to ICIS
John Richardson - Asian Chemical Connections Blog
John Richardson’s Asian Chemicals Connections Blog looks at Asian and global commodity chemicals and polymer pricing trends, supply and demand, macroeconomics, energy and environmental issues.


INSIGHT: Shell has decisions to make alongside Moerdijk headaches
"Much is being made of Shell's decision to cut capital spending by $15bn over the next 3 years, a greater cut than those announced by other oil & gas more

VIDEO: ICIS special report - impact of lower crude oil prices


We welcome your feedback. Please feel free to send us your comments on any aspect of this site. Click here to make your comments.