Robotics

Researchers make robots from self-folding kirigami materials

Researchers have demonstrated how kirigami-inspired techniques allow them to design thin sheets of material that automatically reconfigure into new two-dimensional (2-D) shapes and three-dimensional (3-D) structures in response ...

Engineering

New 3-D printing method creates shape-shifting objects

A team of researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology and two other institutions has developed a new 3-D printing method to create objects that can permanently transform into a range of different shapes in response to ...

Robotics

Using a shape memory polymer as a robot gripper

A team of researchers at Zhejiang University has created a new robot gripper using a shape memory polymer. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes the material, its use as a gripper, ...

Robotics

E-skin able to detect changes in wind, water drops and moving ants

A team of researchers working at the Chinese Academy of Sciences has developed an electronic skin that is sensitive enough to detect changes in air moving, falling drops and moving ants. In their paper published in the journal ...

Robotics

When the top stunt-worthy acrobat is a robot

Human performers have developed impressive acrobatic techniques that never fail to draw gasps, blinks and open-mouthed children. They watch a body swing through the air and in the process even twist and flip. Can robots ...

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Polymer

A polymer (from Greek πολύ-ς /po΄li-s/ much, many and μέρος /΄meros/ part) is a large molecule (macromolecule) composed of repeating structural units typically connected by covalent chemical bonds. While polymer in popular usage suggests plastic, the term actually refers to a large class of natural and synthetic materials with a variety of properties.

Due to the extraordinary range of properties accessible in polymeric materials , they have come to play an essential and ubiquitous role in everyday life - from plastics and elastomers on the one hand to natural biopolymers such as DNA and proteins that are essential for life on the other. A simple example is polyethylene, whose repeating unit is based on ethylene (IUPAC name ethene) monomer. Most commonly, as in this example, the continuously linked backbone of a polymer consists mainly of carbon atoms. However, other structures do exist; for example, elements such as silicon form familiar materials such as silicones, examples being silly putty and waterproof plumbing sealant. The backbone of DNA is in fact based on a phosphodiester bond, and repeating units of polysaccharides (e.g. cellulose) are joined together by glycosidic bonds via oxygen atoms.

Natural polymeric materials such as shellac, amber, and natural rubber have been in use for centuries. Biopolymers such as proteins and nucleic acids play crucial roles in biological processes. A variety of other natural polymers exist, such as cellulose, which is the main constituent of wood and paper.

The list of synthetic polymers includes synthetic rubber, Bakelite, neoprene, nylon, PVC, polystyrene, polyacrylonitrile, PVB, silicone, and many more.

Polymers are studied in the fields of polymer chemistry, polymer physics, and polymer science.

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