Polymeric materials are a relatively new class of materials. Today, the concept of a “giant molecule” is universally accepted by scientist, but this was not always so, and the initial antagonism toward the idea that very large covalently bonded molecules could exist was deep-seated and difficult to dispel.
The German organic chemist Hermann Staudinger cast doubts on the presence of physical forces of aggregation in colloidal systems. From 1927 onward, he started to convince other chemists that colloidal substances like rubber, starch, cellulose were, in fact, long, linear molecules of variable length, composed of small definable molecular units, covalently bonded to one another to form macromolecules or polymers.
Hence, the terms polymer and polymeric material encompass very large, broad classes of compounds, both natural and synthetic, with a wide variety of properties.