Polymer of the Month

A Periodic Exploration of Strange and Wonderful Macromolecules

This page will describe unusual polymers that have unique or surprising properties. Pick one from the list on the left or view the one for this month below by clicking on the image or the link.

Parylene or Polyxylylene

In your wildest dreams, did you ever envision making a high performance polymer by condensing a gas onto a surface? Be honest- probably not a process that would be high on your list of commercial polymer synthesis methods. But hold your horses, there IS such a polymer, and it's unique not just in how it's made, but in the unusual properties it has. So this month's "POTM" is unique for two reasons, making it a double first place winner (whatever that means in real life).

The polymer is made from the cyclophane monomer above which is sublimed and then thermally "cracked" to a very reactive neutral species called xylylene or 1,4-bismethylenecyclohexadiene. Generated in partial vacuum, the xylylenes condense on a surface (almost any surface) and spontaneously polymerize. The conformal thin film thus generated has very unusual properties- click here or on the image to find out all about it.

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