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Vol. 32 No. 4
July-August 2010

The Project Place | Information about new, current, and complete IUPAC projects and related initiatives.
See also www.iupac.org/projects

Definitions and Notations Relating to Stereochemical Aspects in Polymer Science

Several conflicting, if not contradictory, systems for describing the absolute and relative configuration of macromolecules have been described in the literature. Some of these issues were addressed nearly 30 years ago in an IUPAC document that advanced recommendations on the stereochemical description of polymers.1 However, some of the definitions of terms provided in that document appear inconsistent with definitions for the same terms and descriptors in organic chemistry. It is perhaps unfortunate that these terms are those which see the most widespread usage as descriptors of polymer stereochemistry. This, nonetheless, indicates the need for, and importance of, a clear unambiguous terminology that is suitable for widespread adoption. Furthermore, in the period since that publication,1 the field of stereochemistry has undergone tremendous development, both in polymer science and in organic chemistry. It is therefore necessary to revise and update the said document in the light of current IUPAC recommendations and recent scientific developments.

This project will result in the preparation of a comprehensive document that will:

  • provide the relevant terminology
  • function as a basic guide to the scientific community on the stereochemical description of polymers
  • highlight common misunderstandings of the different approaches used
  • remove inconsistencies in recommendations that have been published at different times
  • where possible, provide a concordance of formerly used terms and descriptors and classify these into preferred, acceptable, and not acceptable

The scope of the document will be limited to that of the 1981 article,1 a version of which was recently republished, with some minor updating, in the second edition of the Purple Book.2

References
1. A.D. Jenkins, Stereochemical Definitions and Notations Relating to Polymers (IUPAC Recommendations 1980), Pure Appl. Chem. 53, 733–752 (1981) [doi:10.1351/pac198153030733]

2. IUPAC Compendium of Polymer Terminology and Nomenclature (Purple Book), 2nd ed., R.G. Jones, J. Kahovec, R. Stepto, E.S. Wilks, M. Hess, T. Kitayama, W.V. Metanomski † (Eds.), RSC Publishing, Cambridge, UK 2009

For more information contact the task group chairmen Karl-Heinz Hellwich
<hellwich.iupac@web.de> or Graeme Moad <graeme.moad@csiro.au>.

www.iupac.org/web/ins/2009-047-1-400


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