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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

Terminology for Chain Polymerization

During recent decades, a sometimes conflicting and contradictory terminology for describing chain polymerization processes has emerged. IUPAC has recently addressed this problem for the case of radical polymerizations which derive some of the characteristics of living polymerization from the presence of a reversible deactivation mechanism.1 However, the issues are more pervasive and extend beyond the confines of radical polymerization, such that there is now an evident need to address the development of an even wider terminology that is being applied across all polymerization processes, often leading to conflicts of understanding at the boundaries of chain polymerization, addition polymerization, and condensation polymerization.

This project will review current terminology for chain polymerization processes in light of current IUPAC recommendations and recent developments in what continues to be a very rapidly developing field.

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

  • provide definitions of the relevant important terminology
  • be a basic guide to terminology of mechanisms of chain polymerization processes
  • highlight common misunderstandings evident in the prior literature
  • 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 either as preferred, acceptable, or not acceptable

The intention is that terminology should, where possible, be consistent with that presented in recent IUPAC documents, in particular, the “Glossary of Terms Related to Kinetics, Thermodynamics, and Mechanisms of Polymerization.”2 However, it is also recognized that some terminology may need to be modified.

References
1. A. D. Jenkins, R. I. Jones, and G. Moad, Pure Appl. Chem., 2010, 82, 483–491.
2. S. Penczek and G. Moad, Pure Appl. Chem., 2008, 80, 2163–2193.
For more information, contact Task Group Chair Graeme Moad <graeme.moad@csiro.au>.

www.iupac.org/web/ins/2010-007-1-400


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