Polymers are used in a range of materials, including common household goods, clothing, toys, construction materials, insulation, and numerous other products. Chemically speaking, they are compounds with molecules bonded together in long, repeating chains. They are often man-made, using petroleum derived, non-renewable resources. Common petrobased polymers include:
Biobased polymers can be direct or "drop in" replacements for petroleum-derived polymers and offer near-identical properties, or they can offer entirely novel characteristics. The importance of reducing dependency on fossil fuels for environmental reasons has brought about a surge in the production of these products. Some polymers that may include biologic feedstock are TPU, PE, and PLA.
Common uses include:
13 Bioplastic Innovations That Might Save the Environment - Bioplastic could be the solution to the growing accumulation of hydrocarbon-derived plastics.
Basic Polymer Structure - From Penn State, this source covers the four basic polymer structures and links to information on how different polymers are used.
Decision Support System - This decision system is for designing with polymer materials.
Polymers vs. Plastic - Hint: plastics are a type of polymer.