You should be familiar with
the idea that everyday items such as supermarket bags are made from
You should appreciate why technology moves forward with the
development of materials focusing on the very wide range of uses that
polymers have in the 21st century, including health care.
You should also appreciate the issues of disposal
of polymers eg methods of disposal and recycling plastics.
You should appreciate why technology moves forward with the development of materials
precisely matched to need using a variety of contexts to capture different
interests (CDs, sports equipment, health contexts etc).
Be able to interpret simple
information about properties of polymers (plastics) and their uses given
appropriate information (but no recall is expected in this context).
You may have done some research about waterproof
clothing, used a polymer (plastics) identification kit and how local
councils dispose of public waste - all good learning experiences.
Know that nylon is used in clothing.
Know and understand that many polymers are non-biodegradable
and so will not decay or decompose by bacterial action.
Know some of the ways
that waste polymers can be disposed of:
Suggest the properties a polymer (plastic) should
have in order to be used for a particular purpose.
Be able to explain why a polymer
(plastic) is suitable for a particular use given the properties of the
HT only: Know and understand
that the atoms in plastics are held together by strong covalent bonds.
HT only: Be able to relate the properties of plastics to simple
models of their
a) plastics that have weak intermolecular forces between polymer
molecules have low melting points and can be stretched easily as the polymer
molecules can slide over one another
b) plastics that have strong forces
between the polymer molecules (covalent bonds or cross- linking bridges)
have high melting points, cannot be stretched and are rigid.
Be able to compare the
properties of nylon and Gore-Tex®:
a) Nylon is tough,
lightweight, keeps water out and keeps UV light out but does not let
water vapour through it which means that sweat condenses.
b) Gore-Tex® has all of the properties of nylon but is
Be able to explain why the discovery of Gore-Tex®
type materials has been of great help to active outdoor people to cope with
HT only: Be able to explain why Gore-Tex® type materials are
waterproof and yet breathable
nylon laminated with PTFE /
holes in membrane are too small for water
droplets to pass through
but are big enough for water vapour molecules to pass through
membrane is too fragile on its own and so is combined with nylon.
Be able to explain why chemists are
developing new types of polymers:
Be able to explain environmental and economic issues related to the use and
disposal of polymers.