Polyvinyl acetate, PVA, is a useful adhesive for gluing together articles made from wood, paper or cardboard. The monomer of PVA is ethenyl ethanoate.
PVA is formed from B by the process of addition polymerisation.
Draw a section of the PVA molecule containing at least 2 monomer molecules and identify clearly the repeating unit.
(Source: University of Cambridge international Examinations, General Certificate of Education Advanced Level, Chemistry, Paper 4 Structured Questions, May/June 2011, Q4)

Shouldn't the $\ce{C=C}$ double bond break and each of the carbon atoms involved in the double bond are attached to $\ce{CH3OCO}$. so the repeating unit is $\ce{CH3OCO}$.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Elements of backbone also repeat. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 22:57

1 Answer 1


It's not that the "double bond breaks," it's that the vinyl C=C bond reacts during the radical addition polymerization to create polyvinyl acetate.

I'd disagree that the repeat unit is $\ce{CH3OCO}$ since that ignores the backbone entirely. Instead, if you look at the Wikipedia article (or any other picture of polyvinyl acetate), I'd call the repeat unit something like $\ce{-(CH2CH(OC=OCH3)-)}$ or something like that.


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