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Goldfinger, W. P. Hohenstein, and H. Mark, J. , 2, 503 (1947). CHAPTER II Types of Polymeric Substances: Definitions and Classifications 1. PRIMARY DEFINITIONS 1 HE constitution of a polymeric substance is customarily described in terms of its structural units. These may be defined in the most general terms as groups having a valence of two or more; the terminal units coming at the ends of polymer chains represent minor exceptions in that they possess a valence of only one. The structural units are connected to one another in the polymer molecule, or polymeric structure, by covalent bonds.
Leuchs 61 and co-workers (1906-1908) prepared various polypeptides by decomposing the N-carboxyanhydrides of a-amino acids, but they did not suggest chain formulas for their products. Instead, they assumed that a three-membered ring structure was formed as indicated by the following equation: CO RCH / \ I NH" \ O NH / \ / + C0 2 R—CH CO CO In order to account for the nonvolatility, infusibility, and limited solubility, Leuchs postulated polymerization of the "ground type" cyclic compound, as indicated by the subscript x in his formula given above.