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Polymer Division (IV)


Number: 2005-007-1-400 [previously 410/22/93]

Title: Guide to macromolecular terminology and nomenclature

Task group Chairman: E.S. Wilks

To bring to a general and much wider audience, matters of macromolecular nomenclature and terminology in order to foster clear communication in and a deeper understanding of the subject.

In the early 20th century, the concept of macromolecules was introduced, which led to the foundation of polymer science as a subject of study. With the spread of knowledge of this new type of molecule and the materials formed therefrom, the need grew for an unequivocal and universal terminology and chemical nomenclature and its documentation. Initially, small groups and committees were formed to discuss the issues involved. Finally, in 1952 the first recommendations on macromolecular nomenclature were published by IUPAC.

Following this start, many IUPAC recommendations in the fields of macromolecular terminology and nomenclature have been published over the past 50 or so years. They are concerned with the structural representation of macromolecules, terminology related to polymerization, the structure and properties of polymer materials, and chemical nomenclature.

The proposed guide is being written to provide easy access to the most important aspects of these recommendations, with the particular aim of helping newcomers to macromolecular chemistry and physics in order to cope with the particular features of the subject, even though they may be experts in other fields of chemistry and physics. It gives definitions, terms, and nomenclature rules linked with explanatory text, as in a textbook. Usually text from the original IUPAC recommendations is quoted and references are given. The IUPAC documents on which the various chapters are based were published originally in Pure and Applied Chemistry, online at <www.iupac.org/publications/pac>. (An index of reports and recommendations published by the Polymer Division is also available from <www.iupac.org/divisions/IV>)

This Guide, to be published on the IUPAC Web site only, is originally structured into eight chapters, each of which covers a particular field. The chapters, which start with basic terms and end with chemical nomenclature, cover polymerization, individual macromolecules and macromolecules in solution, crystalline polymers, polymer liquid crystals, degradation and aging, and mechanical properties. It is noteworthy that many of the authors of the individual chapters were involved in writing the original recommendations on which the chapters are based. It is their sincere hope that the Guide provides a useful and readable introduction to the language of polymer science and, hence, furthers clarity and precision in scientific communication. As new recommendations covering additional fields of macromolecular terminology and nomenclature are published, and the corresponding need arises to provide guidance for their use, additional Chapters will be provided.

Proposed Contents
Introduction, by M. Hess and R. F. T. Stepto

  1. Basic Terms In Polymer Science,
    by M. Barón, M. Hess, J. Kahovec, P. Kratochvíl, and R. F. T. Stepto
  2. Kinetics, Thermodynamics, and Mechanisms of Polymerization,
    by A. D. Jenkins, P. Kubisa, E. Maréchal, and S. Penczek
  3. Individual Macromolecules, Their Assemblies, and Macromolecules in Dilute Solution,
    by M. Hess, P. Kratochvíl, and R. F. T. Stepto
  4. Crystalline Polymers,
    by J.-I. Jin
  5. Liquid-Crystalline Polymers,
    by M. Barón, V. P. Shibaev, and A. Sirigu
  6. Terms Relating to Degradation, Aging, and Related Chemical Transformations of Polymers,
    by K. Hatada, R. B. Fox, J. Kahovec, E. Maréchal, V. P. Shibaev, and G. Swift
  7. Mechanical Properties of Elastic Solids and Viscoelastic Liquids and Solids,
    by W. J. Work
  8. Macromolecular Nomenclature,
    by E. S. Wilks

Tentative release date: Spring 2005


More about
> the Compendium of Macromolecular Nomenclature (1st edition, 1991)
> Guide for the authors of papers and reports in polymer science and technology (June 2001)

Last update: 23 March 2005

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Page last modified 23 March 2005.
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