Materials science seeks to explain the properties of materials in terms of structure. Chapter 1 dealt with the molecular structure of polymers, that is, with the internal organisation of the individual chain molecules. We next consider how the chain molecules are assembled to form the bulk material. In broad terms, in polymers as in other materials, we can envisage regular, ordered crystalline arrangements or irregular, random, amorphous arrangements of the constituent molecules. Furthermore, several levels of structural organisation may exist, and materials may reveal complex microstructures in the optical or electron microscope. It is to these observed forms and their inner structure that we refer when we speak of the morphology of polymeric materials. The properties of materials are governed by the subtle interplay of processes operating at all of these structural levels.
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