Project Details Terminology for the kinetics, thermodynamics, and mechanism of polymerization

Project No.:
Start Date:
01 April 2002
End Date:
31 October 2008
Division Name:
Polymer Division
Division No.:


To prepare definitions of terms related to the polymerization processes particularly to the kinetics, thermodynamics and mechanisms of polymerizations. This is a major area of macromolecular science and polymer technology. The present lack of clarity of terminology in this important field results in confusion in understanding of scientific and technological problems.


Macromolecules and eventually polymers are formed in various polymerization processes. Understanding of these processes require that the pertinent kinetics, thermodynamics, and mechanisms are known. The corresponding description is not possible without uniform and generally accepted terminology. At present this terminology does not exist and some terms defined in earlier IUPAC documents of this and other Division require redefinition due to the progress of this field.


See previous project 410/26/95

See also project 2002-006-2-400, titled “Terminology for radical polymerizations with minimal termination – the so-called “living” and/or “controlled” radical polymerization” (or more simply “New Radical Polymerization” (NRP)). Several of the terms included in the document emerging from the current project will later be incorpoarted in the NRP document. Thus, to some extent, these two projects have been running in tandem, and valuable developments have been made, particularly the definition of terms relating to termination, deactivation, and reactivation in radical polymerization.

March 2007 – A draft is submittedto public review comments until 31 July 2007.
> see provisionalrecommendations

Oct 2008 - Project completed – IUPAC Recommendations published in Pure Appl. Chem., 2008, Vol. 80, No. 10, pp. 2163-2193

German translation:
Ulrich Jonas*, Patrick Theato*
Glossar zu Begriffen mit Bezug zu Kinetik, Thermodynamik und Mechanismen von Polymerisationen
Angew. Chem. 121(50), 9725–9738(2009) doi:10.1002/ange.200805608 (the translation does not contain Appendices 1 and 2.)