POLYMER MATERIAL USED IN CONSTRUCTION


Polymers in construction

A polymer is a substance which has a molecular structure built up chiefly or completely from a large number of similar units bonded together. In basic terms, polymers are very long molecules typically made up of many thousands of repeat units.

Many synthetic and organic materials are based on polymers, including; plastics, rubbers, thermoplastic elastomers, adhesives, foams, paints and sealants. Polymer materials account for the highest growth area in construction materials. Well-established applications of polymers in construction include products used for flooring, windows, cladding, pipes, membranes, seals, insulation, and so on. With thousands of commercially available polymers new applications are emerging all the time.

However, the introduction of polymeric materials has brought with it new concerns, particularly relating to their longevity, how they are affected by ageing and weathering, the effects of pollution, environmental and sustainability issues, fire performance, re-use, recycling or disposal at their end of life and so on.

Examples of polymer materials in construction include:

1. Epoxy resins: Solid resin, Terrazzo flooring, anchor fixings and adhesives.
2. Ethylenetetrafluoroethylene (ETFE): Fabric structures.
3. Ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA): Solar panel encapsulants.
4. Expanded polystyrene (EPS): Concrete moulds, insulation and packaging.
5. Polycarbonate: Lighting housings, fittings in hot water systems and glazing.
6. Polyester: FRP Bridge sections, cladding panels, sinks, surfaces and coatings.
7. Polyethylene: Foam underlay, damp-proof membranes and coatings.
8. Polyisobutylene (PIB): Sealants and waterproof membranes.
9. Polymethylmethacrylate / Acyrlic (PMMA): Surfaces and sinks.
10. Polypropylene (PP): Sound insulation, and pipes.
11. Polyurethane (PU): Sealants and concrete jointing.
12. Polyvinylchloride (PVC): Sealants, concrete jointing and fabric structures.
13. Rubber: Bridge bearings and flooring.

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