Project Details Definitions of terms relating to crystalline polymers - revision of IUPAC Recommendations 1988

Project No.: 
Start Date: 
01 July 2003
End Date: 
16 August 2011
Division Name: 


To update the previous IUPAC Document by 1) accounting for new experimental results, 2) integrating crystallographic, conformational and morphological terminology relating to polymers and providing new, significant examples, 3) harmonising with other documents of the Subcommittee on Macromolecular Terminology.

> for a copy of the original document, see chapter 4 in the so-called purple book


The proposed revision will be based on the following points:

1 – In view of the rapid development and widespread application of the experimental techniques, explicit reference will be made to results from solid-state NMR, AFM, electron microscopy and diffraction, SANS and SAXS, FT-IR and Raman spectroscopy etc., whenever appropriate.

2 – Further examples will be given, especially those that correlate morphology with local conformation of the polymer chains.

3 – Reference will be made to biological macromolecules that crystallise as non-globular chains.

4 – Some definitions relating to chirality of biological macromolecules and to stereoregularity of synthetic polymers will be compared and harmonised.

5 – Definitions of terms belonging to general physical chemistry, such as crystal, unit cell etc. will be avoided as much as possible.

6 – Disorder in crystalline polymers will be covered. Some choices are required, such as whether or not to mention the so-called two-phase model and to deal with the issue of static vs dynamic disorder.

7 – Wider reference to and fuller integration with other documents of the Subcommittee on Macromolecular Terminology will be attempted, especially with regard to the Liquid Crystal Document, the Glossary of Basic Terms and the Polymer Solutions Document.


May 2006 – an extension till Sep 2008 has been approved to facilitate completion of this project.

January 2010 - A draft of the provisional recommendations is
submitted to public review comments until 31 May 2011 (> provisional recommendations at .. /provisional/abstract11/allegra_31052011.html)

August 2011 – IUPAC Recommendations published in Pure Appl. Chem., 2011, Vol. 83, No. 10, pp. 1831-1871, doi:10.1351/PAC-REC-10-11-13, published online 2011-08-03

project completed

page last modified 21 Sep 2011