Vinyl polymers are a group of polymers derived from vinyl monomers of the type CH2=CHR. Their backbone is an extended alkane chain ...-CH2-CHR-CH2-CHR-..). In popular usage, "vinyl" refers only to polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
Vinyl polymers are the most common type of plastic. Important examples can be distinguished by the R group in the monomer H2C=CHR:
- Polyethylene R = H
- polypropylene from propylene, R = CH3
- Polystyrene is made from styrene, R = C6H5
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is made from vinyl chloride, R= Cl
- Polyvinyl acetate (PVAc) is made from vinyl acetate, R = O2CCH3
- Polyacrylonitrile is made from acrylonitrile, R = CN
Vinyl polymers are produced using catalysts. Ziegler–Natta catalyst is a typical commercial catalyst for polyethylene and polypropylene.