From the simple and pleasurable creation of a craft item, like the necklace above, to the heavy-duty pipes that carry water and other materials, polymers are an essential part of today’s society. Polymers are very large molecules based on small structural units that are repeated hundreds or even thousands of times. Most of these materials are based on carbon chains, which puts them in the domain of organic chemistry. However, polymers are but one application of modern organic chemistry. The chemistry of carbon-containing compounds encompasses over twenty million compounds and thousands of different reactions, many named after the chemists who developed them. This chapter will give a small sampling of the complex field of organic chemistry.
Jana Lehmann. commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Buttons_necklace.jpg. CC BY 2.0.