Project Details A Brief Guide to Polymer Nomenclature

Project No.: 
Start Date: 
01 January 2009
End Date: 
01 November 2012
Division Name: 


To disseminate throughout the world polymer community a short, easily assimilated, guide to the essentials of polymer nomenclature.

!! GUIDE LATEST RELEASE !! download version 1.1 (29 Oct 2012) – pdf 620KB

For translations, see Progress tab.


Most polymer scientists are aware of the importance of using nomenclature approved by IUPAC. There are simple rules that can be used easily to name most of the polymers cited in the scientific literature. However, as technical and copy editors of polymer journals know, there are common misunderstandings of how these should be applied.
The “Brief Guide” includes:

  1. important terminology for polymer nomenclature;
  2. concise explanations of source-based and structure-based nomenclature; and
  3. hyperlinks to relevant primary publications.

The potential of such a project was discussed at a meeting of the Subcommittee on Polymer Terminology (SPT) in Turin, Italy in 2007 and the application finalized at the subsequent meeting in Taipei, Taiwan in 2008. Following approval and the award of financial support from IUPAC, the project started in January 2009.


The “Brief Guide” gives a simple resume of polymer nomenclature hyperlinked to the original literature upon which it is based. Hyperlinks are color-coded to accord with the source documents, which are mostly free. To cite, ‘R. C. Hiorns, R. J. Boucher, R. Duhlev, K.-H. Hellwich, P. Hodge, A. D. Jenkins, R. G. Jones, J. Kahovec, G. Moad, C. K. Ober, D. W. Smith, R. F. T. Stepto, J.-P. Vairon, and J. Vohlídal, Pure Appl. Chem. 84, 2167-2169 (2012)’.

The two page document is targeted at authors publishing in polymer-science journals, lecturers, students, indeed anyone who would like to know how polymers are named in accordance with IUPAC recommendations. Editors of learned journals and scientific magazines publishing in polymer science and related areas are demonstrating their commitment through the inclusion of prominent permanent hyperlinks to this document.

  • October 2012: version 1.1 (29 Oct 2012) with updated links – download here as pdf – 620KB
  • November 2012: version 1.1 of this Brief Guide to Polymer Nomenclature is featured in the Nov-Dec 2012 issue of Chemistry International and reprinted as the back cover tear-off page (and with a purple background!).

project completed

Croatian: Kem. Ind. 2016, 65, 153-160;
Slovak: extract from ChemZi, 2020, 16, 32-33; pdf – 505 KB
Spanish: pdf – 543KB
Basque: pdf – 520KB
Galacian: pdf – 628 KB (June 2022)
Catalan: pdf – 645KB (June 2022)

last update 21 June 2022