Plastic vs Polymer

The scientific name for Plastic is…

Above anything else, plastic is a polymer. So if we had to come up with a scientific name for Plastic, that name would be Polymer.

“What’s a polymer?” “So, plastic is not plastic?” are some of the questions that you might be asking yourself right now. Yet, there’s a simple way to find it all out. Just stick around for one minute, and you’ll have the answers on your side.

Monomers and polymers

To begin with, we shall distinguish monomers from polymers whilst comprehending the importance of both. Even though both words come from Greek they are two different elements.

On one hand, we have Monomers which consist of molecules that have the ability to react with similar or different molecules to form very large molecules: Polymers.

On the other hand, we have Polymers that can be either natural or synthetic substances made of very large molecules, also known as, macromolecules. Additionally, they can be divided into 3 distinct groups. (Fig. 1)

Group 1: when the number of monomers is high, the compound can be referred to as High Polymer.

Group 2: when a single monomer is “multiplied” into a macromolecule, the compound can be described as Homopolymer.

Group 3: although polymers can be composed of identical monomers, the majority of them are made up of two or more monomers. In that case, they can be designated as Copolymers.

Fig. 1

How do monomers become a polymer?

That would be through Polymerisation. Polymerisation is the chemical process that binds monomers together turning them into a polymer.


Monomers and polymers are different substances. Polymers are made of monomers. Polymer, macromolecule and Plastic are synonyms of one another.