What Is a Synthetic Polymer?

A synthetic polymer is a type of polymer made by engineers and scientists from artificial components rather than natural ones. Synthetic polymers are commonly found in consumer products such as epoxy, textiles, cookware, tires, plastic bottles and currency.

Applications for synthetic polymers fall into the main categories of thermoplastics, thermosets, elastomers and synthetic fibers. Two of the more recognizable consumer products made with synthetic polymers are Mylar in food packaging and Teflon, which is prevalent in non-stick cookware. Synthetic polymers are controversial due to the environmental impact of their non-biodegradable components and the fact that they are derived from petroleum oil.