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The other day, when we were doing the chapter Polymer Chemistry my teacher mentioned that Polymeric Ethylene Glycol (PEG) is conductive.

[EDIT- By 'conductive', I guess my teacher meant, "sufficiently conductive, so that it can permit a significant amount of current"...Now I really don't want to go and elaborate on "significant"]

Naturally I was taken aback, having lived all my life believing anything even remotely related to plastics could possibly conduct electricity. So I Googled it, but that endeavor wasn't particularly fruitful. I ended up getting links to articles like these: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S001346861101190X

As I wasn't able to get my hands on any piece of scientific literature, that definitively puts my question to rest, I resolved to have a look at the chemical structure of PEG:

enter image description here

But I wasn't able to identify anything that could possibly impart conductor-like properties to PEG. No free ions or any delocalized electrons that could facilitate conduction. Nothing ._.

However, I was able to discern something about possibly 'altering' PEG, via a method that's akin to doping. At any rate, I'm getting no where here.

Would anyone happen to know if PEG really is conductive in the pure state? Or is it somehow 'modified' to impart conductive properties to it? If so, then how is it modified?

A good reference would be appreciated.

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    $\begingroup$ Depends on what someone means as conductive. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Nov 1 '16 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ Roger that! I'll edit it. $\endgroup$ – paracetamol Nov 1 '16 at 15:48
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    $\begingroup$ Uptake of water from the air might be one factor. See if you can get a hand on this article: scitation.aip.org/content/aip/proceeding/aipcp/10.1063/… $\endgroup$ – Klaus-Dieter Warzecha Nov 1 '16 at 15:50
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    $\begingroup$ @KlausWarzecha The other link was quite interesting at any rate. So danke! ^_^ $\endgroup$ – paracetamol Nov 2 '16 at 16:06
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    $\begingroup$ Though not exactly common, there are still many conductive polymers. Some are only conductive when adulterated (e.g. iodine-doped polyacetylene, which led to a Nobel prize in chemistry), but others are conductive even when pure. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conductive_polymer $\endgroup$ – DrMoishe Pippik Nov 2 '16 at 21:24

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