This clip starts with a brief introduction into what polymers are and lists examples of both natural and synthetic polymers. It then goes on to describe what a smart polymer is, before focusing on one type of superabsorbent, hydrogel. It gives an interesting example of how this product, which is used in nappies, has a transferable use in fighting fires due to its ability to hold large amounts of water.

First broadcast:
2 March 2007

Consolidate students’ understanding of the link between monomers and polymers by setting puzzles in which they have to work out polymer names and structures based on monomer names and structures given and vice versa. Lead into broader discussion of different polymers, their properties and uses.