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Did you know that everything around you contains special molecules called polymers? These molecules form long chains that make up plastic, protein, and even your DNA! The great thing about polymers is that we can design them to have the properties we need. But the polymers we design can sometimes have a negative impact on the environment. That is why we wanted to see if we can create different polymers from the same natural product, such as sugar. We wanted to determine how the placement of atoms in the polymers affected their properties. We found that by rearranging the atoms of a monomer, we could get two different polymers. One behaved like a stiff plastic, and the other behaved like stretchy rubber. The results of our research made us realize that the placement of atoms does change a polymer’s properties. It also proved that we can make strong and flexible polymers from more natural materials.

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