Polymers are large molecules made by covalently linking many, many small molecules. The small molecules that link to form a polymer are called monomers. Polymers can be natural (such as starch and proteins) or synthetic (such as nylon and PVC). Because they include a variety of structures and functional groups, polymers have a broad range of properties and uses. For example, polymer-based plastics are now integral parts of our everyday lives.
Polymers provide good examples of how we can apply models involving molecular structure, functional groups, and intermolecular forces to explain and predict chemical and physical properties of materials.