Polymers are everywhere. In the natural world, starch, cellulose, and rubber have polymeric properties. Man-made polymers include spandex, polyester, and nylon, as well as plastic. Made up of hundreds of thousands (or millions) of monomer molecules, polymers are sometimes called "macromolecules,” and can be classified according to their composition and properties:
- Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) will become rubbery after reaching a glass transition temperature but will melt at higher temperatures. They are rubbers that act like plastic;
- Plastomers are rigid at temperatures under a defined melting point;
- Duromers are crosslinked polymers that decompose when heated to a defined temperature;
- Elastomers are crosslinked polymers with rubber-like characteristics at glass transition temperatures. If heated further, they will decompose. The word "elastomer” is often used interchangeably with "rubber.”
Mark Tool’s industrial coatings typically fall into this last category, the elastomers.
Elastomers can be stretched, pulled, bounced, and squashed, and they’ll always return to their shape. The properties of rollers, pipeline spacers, industrial coatings, or anything else made out of elastomeric polymers reflect what's going on at the molecular level.