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From DNA to Silly Putty, the diverse world of polymers

You are made of polymers, and so are trees and telephones and toys. A polymer is a long chain of identical molecules (or monomers) with a range of useful properties, like toughness or stretchiness — and it turns out, we just can’t live without them. Polymers occur both naturally — our DNA is a polymer — and synthetically, like plastic, Silly Putty and styrofoam. Jan Mattingly explains how polymers have changed our world.

Lesson by Jan Mattingly, animation by TED-Ed.

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