Hydrogel: An Important Innovation of Chemical Advances

Topics: Atom, Molecule, Electric charge Pages: 3 (1036 words) Published: June 16, 2011
Introduction
Materials in the modern day world assist us with comfortable everyday living. Most people don’t recognise the fact that science is behind all of our modern day advances. Molecular properties and structures form the basis of the functioning of our appliances, materials and environment. The way that these moles are charged, their polarity, state, bonding and forces individualise the material to make them unique in their formation and function. Polymers are chains of monomers (atom or a small molecule that has the potential of chemically binding to other monomers of the same species) which link in various fashions (e.g. cross-link, linear linking) to form materials that are used constantly to help humanity’s comfort and existence thrive. An important innovation of chemical advances is a material known as Hydrogels.

What are Polymers and Why Use Carbon and Silicon Atoms?
Polymers are repeating chains of monomers (atoms) which link in varying trends depending on their individual properties. These properties determine such aspects of the polymer such as solubility, reactivity, state (liquid, solid, gas), conductivity, melting point, boiling point and freezing point. Also, the atoms surrounding the polymer chains determine the charge (negative or positive). (For example, a Hydrogel chain (without the addition of Sodium atoms) is highly negative due to the Carbon atoms, and therefore will repel each other, causing a large, stretched molecule that has the ability to bond with positive atoms) [See diagram below]. These differing charges cause hydrophilic and hydrophobic groups. The hydrophilic groups absorb water, while the hydrophobic groups repel water. Carbon and Silicon are used because they are elements that can either lose or gain electrons, so they can be positive ions or negative ions. Carbon is easily bonded to hydrogen, which means that it easily absorbs water. Silicon holds weight of other molecules well, so a layer of silicon lies underneath...

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