Synthetic polymers are human-made polymers, often derived from petroleum oil. From the utility point of view they can be classified into three main categories: thermoplastics, elastomers and synthetic fibers. They are commonly found in a variety of products worldwide.
A wide variety of synthetic polymers are available with variations in main chain as well as side chains. The back bones of common synthetic polymers such as polythene, polystyrene and poly acrylates are made up of carbon-carbon bonds, whereas hetero chain polymers such as polyamides, polyesters, polyurethanes, polysulfides and polycarbonates have other elements (e.g. oxygen, sulfur, nitrogen) inserted along to the backbone. Also silicon forms similar materials without the need of carbon atoms, such as silicones through siloxane linkages; these compounds are thus said to be inorganic polymers. Coordination polymers may contain a range of metals in the backbone, with non-covalent bonding present.
Some familiar household synthetic polymers include: Nylons in textiles and fabrics, Teflon in non-stick pans, Bakelite for electrical switches, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in pipes, etc. The common PET bottles are made of a synthetic polymer, polyethylene terephthalate. The plastic kits and covers are mostly made of synthetic polymers like polythene and tires are manufactured from Buna rubbers. However, due to the environmental issues created by these synthetic polymers which are mostly non-biodegradable and often synthesized from petroleum, alternatives like bioplastics are also being considered. They are however expensive when compared to the synthetic polymers.
Note 1: Artificial polymer should also be used in the case of chemically
Note 2: Biochemists are now capable of synthesizing copies of biopolymers
that should be named Synthetic biopolymer to make a distinction
with true biopolymers.