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Last edited 05 Dec 2019
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.
- Epoxy resins: Solid resin, Terrazzo flooring, anchor fixings and adhesives.
- Ethylenetetrafluoroethylene (ETFE): Fabric structures.
- Ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA): Solar panel encapsulants.
- Expanded polystyrene (EPS): Concrete moulds, insulation and packaging.
- Polycarbonate: Lighting housings, fittings in hot water systems and glazing.
- Polyester: FRP Bridge sections, cladding panels, sinks, surfaces and coatings.
- Polyethylene: Foam underlay, damp-proof membranes and coatings.
- Polyisobutylene (PIB): Sealants and waterproof membranes.
- Polymethylmethacrylate / Acyrlic (PMMA): Surfaces and sinks.
- Polypropylene (PP): Sound insulation, and pipes.
- Polyurethane (PU): Sealants and concrete jointing.
- Polyvinylchloride (PVC): Sealants, concrete jointing and fabric structures.
- Rubber: Bridge bearings and flooring.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Carbon fibre.
- EVA film.
- Fabric structures.
- Glass reinforced plastic GRP.
- Plastic cladding.
- Plastic coating market.
- Polycarbonate plastic.
- Polyurethane (PUR).
- Polyvinyl chloride PVC.
- Wood plastic composites market for construction.
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