A polymer is a large molecule, or macromolecule, composed of many repeated subunits. Because of their broad range of properties, both synthetic and natural polymers play essential and ubiquitous roles in everyday life. Polymers range from familiar synthetic plastics such as polystyrene to natural biopolymers such as DNA and proteins that are fundamental to biological structure and function.
- 23.3: Liquid Crystals
- A true liquid is isotropic, meaning that its properties are uniform in all directions— the result of its molecules being in constant random motion. Crystalline solids, in contrast, are anisotropic; optical- and other properties such as thermal and electrical conductivity vary with direction. A liquid crystal phase has many of the physical attributes of a liquid, but its molecular units are sufficiently ordered to give rise to some anisotropy.