Chemistry Science

Difference between Monomer and Polymer

Main Difference

Molecules show the primary structure of anything that helps information of that entity. They differ in nature and have certain types that help in understanding for a person who does not belong to the field. Monomers and Polymers become two such terms, and their main difference goes as follows. A Monomer gets defined as a single molecule that exists and has the capacity to get bonded with other molecules of the same nature to form a polymer. A polymer gets defined as a set of several molecules that exist and has the capacity of getting bonded with others to form one structure.

Comparison Chart

Basis of DistinctionMonomerPolymer
DefinitionA single molecule that exists and has the capacity to get bonded with other molecules of the same nature to form a polymer.A set of several molecules that exist and has the capacity of getting bonded with others to form one structure.
TypeSingle repeating unitVarious combination units.
NatureSmall size and simpler structure.Bigger size and complicated structure.
Examplelipids have the glycerol and fatty acids. For proteins, amino acids exist.Ethane that has a carbon and three hydrogen atom on doubling becomes butane.
ReactionProgressive in nature, gets combined with other chemicals.Recessive in nature, do not combine with other chemicals.

Monomer

A Monomer gets defined as a single molecule that exists and has the capacity to get bonded with other molecules of the same nature to form a polymer. The central role for which monomers exist is the same as explained above. Although thousands of these exist and seem very different from each other even with the changes, have something in common that assure the combination formation occurs. When they combine to form a polymer, it does not happen on an individual level, for example, just to complete one polymer, thousands of monomers become required. The models which help in understanding the concept more go as follows. For lipids, the monomers required are the glycerol and fatty acids. When we talk about proteins, the primary types of these molecules become known as the amino acids. When we speak of the Nucleic acids that exist within the DNA or RNA, the role gets played by the nucleotides. Similarly, in the case of carbohydrates, monosaccharides have the task to act as such molecules. If we talk about a particular monomer that exists in nature, it mostly is the glucose that gets linked with the glycoside bonds and forms other polymers such as cellulose, starch, and glycogen. When we talk about the natural ones that exist, amino acids come into contention as they become utilized as out food items on a daily basis and also exist within the human body.

Polymer

A polymer gets defined as a set of several molecules that exist and has the capacity of getting bonded with others to form one structure. When all these get combined to form a polymer, it does not happen on an individual level, just to complete one polymer, thousands of monomers get involved in the process. Even if we see the word poly, it means many, and from here we get the idea of what to expect. They are organic in most cases, but this does not have to be a requirement. At the same time, other names used for them include the macromolecules or large-sized molecules. We take one monomer, and its natural tendency is to get combined with others when they act on the inclination and connect chains, then the structure becomes polymer. The long chains that exist give them unique characteristics. The best example here become ethane that has a carbon and three hydrogen atom, and at room temperature, they are mobile and move here and there without interacting, but when we double the chain of CH3-CH3, then we get butane that is a liquid instead of gas and does not act on their level. They have bigger sizes and therefore require more space to move and have to interact with each other to ensure the mobility. If we add two more, then the structure becomes paraffin that is solid wax and does not move at all and give properties of such substance even though they are same.

Key Differences

  • A Monomer gets defined as a single molecule that exists and can get bonded with other molecules of the same nature to form a polymer. Whereas, a polymer gets defined as a set of several molecules that exist and has the capacity of getting bonded with others to form one structure.
  • A monomer exists to get combined with other monomers whereas a polymer exists as a combination of monomers.
  • Some of the original examples of monomers that are in place for lipids are the glycerol and fatty acids. For proteins, the primary types of these molecules become known as the amino acids. Some of the original examples of polymers that exist are ethane that has a carbon and three hydrogen atom and at room temperature, when we double the chain of CH3-CH3 then we get butane and so on and forth.
  • The size of polymers stays much greater than monomers, and the structure becomes a lot more complicated as more monomers add within them. The size of monomer, on the other hand, stays less and the structure also pretty simple.
  • A polymer always keeps a single repeating unit, on the other hand, a monomer always has different combination units.
  • Monomers show progressive nature and get combined with other chemicals at fast rates, whereas, polymers become slow in nature and do not indicate much reactivity.

Video Explanation

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