Polymers are macromolecules formed by the chemical bonding of many smaller molecules, or repeating units, known as monomers. The number of monomers within a polymer molecule can vary significantly, as can the degree to which regularity appears in the order, relative orientation, and presence of different monomers within the same polymer molecule.
The number of monomers (also known as the degree of polymerization) in many synthetic and natural polymers can be precisely determined, which is often used to tailor the material's properties. The vocabulary of Polymers is vast. Dimers, trimers, and tetramers are short repeating units formed by monomers bonded in twos, threes, and fours, respectively; depending on the circumstances, these oligomers could also be called prepolymers, particularly in the context of block copolymers. The point at which monomers or prepolymers combine sufficiently in a single molecule to be called a polymer is largely arbitrary.
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