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Makromolekle. Band 4 Anwendungen von Polymeren. By Hans-Georg Elias

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Angewandte
Books
Chemie
Makromolekle
Band 4: Anwendungen von Polymeren. By HansGeorg Elias. WileyVCH, Weinheim
2002. 685 pp.,
hardcover
E 209.00.—ISBN
3-527-29962-9
The original “Elias” has now grown into
a very large work. This Volume 4 of
Makromolekle, with the subtitle
Anwendungen von Polymeren, is the
successor to Volume 2 of 11 years ago,
which already consisted of 792 pages,
but at that time there were no volumes
beyond that. Has the field of polymers
really grown to that extent in the last
decade? Some readers will perhaps
doubt whether it has. However, there
has certainly been an explosive growth
in the number of publications, as the
author points out in his preface.
At this point one must ask: why in
German? The recent literature is almost
entirely in English, and indeed the
author nearly always follows a German
technical term with its English equivalent in parentheses. The volume also has
a comprehensive index of English terms.
The German index too is remarkably
comprehensive, and as thorough as one
usually finds with this author. Of course
the same is also true of the text itself,
which is characterized by admirable
thoroughness and depth of scientific
treatment right from the beginning.
The volume is really quite new in its
conception; in particular the overall
arrangement of the contents is completely different from that in the earlier
version. Within the text too one finds
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2003, 42, 4283 – 4285
radical shifts of topics, changes, and
revisions to take into account new
knowledge and new areas of study. It is
unfortunate that industrial polymers
had to be covered separately in
Volume 3, as they are closely connected
with the applications in this volume.
Following a concise and information-packed introduction, the first main
section is devoted to a detailed description of the fundamental principles,
although without any synthetic methods,
descriptions of individual polymers, or
formula schemes (for these the author
can refer the reader to his earlier
volumes). The different types of polymeric materials are then discussed in
turn: fibers, rubbers, plastics, reinforced
plastics, and lastly a chapter on polymer
blends. It might have been logical to
incorporate this last chapter into the
previous one, as “mixtures” appear
frequently there.
A third major section describes
special applications, covering such
widely different areas as packaging
materials, polymers for use in electronics and optics, polymer solutions, and
adhesives.
In discussing the various types of
materials the author devotes considerable space to their historical development, where plastics, in view of their
shorter history, are treated rather more
briefly in this respect than fibers and
rubbers. Some of the author's statistical
data concerning production and consumption of polymers are open to question, as they sometimes appear to be
inconsistent, incorrect, or out-of-date.
Other criticisms are that liquid crystalline polymers do not occupy such an
important position among plastics as
one might expect, that for plastics the
importance of their properties is not
sufficiently emphasized, and that in
general not enough space is devoted to
specific applications.
Against the great advantage of a
unified treatment of the subject by a
single author, with plenty of cross-references, one must, of course, also consider
the disadvantage caused by the absence
of specialist contributions on industrial
developments in specific areas. This is
apparent, for example, in the field of
elastomers, where this volume still recommends the use of nitrosamines as
inhibitors, despite the fact that they are
www.angewandte.org
since long banned in some countries.
There are gaps in the descriptions of
fillers (SiO2), and the production of
EPDM using metallocene catalysts in
the gas phase is not covered. Instead one
finds information about polyurethane
tires, which have never been produced
in sufficient quantities to be really worth
mentioning. On the other hand, the
book does not highlight the importance
of the production of prepolymers for
polyurethane foams.
Nevertheless, one is repeatedly
impressed by the wealth of theoretical
knowledge and detailed information
provided. For example, in what other
polymer textbook does one find discussions of the reduction in chemical performance of an additive through dilution, or of hyperpolarizability, breakdown by flocculation, the Cox equation,
or even on energy consumption in the
manufacture of shirts? There are many
very good chapters, such as those on
viscosity and flow properties, on optics
and color, etc., and lastly a very comprehensive glossary of units, symbols,
abbreviations, and acronyms. One must
also mention the bibliographies
attached to the individual chapters,
which contain a useful mixture of older
and more recent references, so that one
is often able to look up the original
publications.
The verdict: the volume does not
always make easy reading, but is always
a source in which one can draw on the
wisdom of an author who has not even
needed to include the usual list of
acknowledgments in his preface.
Hans W. Schnecko
Hanau (Germany)
DOI: 10.1002/anie.200385989
. 2003 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
4283
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