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Is a hydrogen atom bonded to the first and the last unit of polyethene? If yes, where does the hydrogen come from?

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    $\begingroup$ There are several hydrogens on every unit of polyethene. And they all come from the original monomer ethene. So, sorry but I don't understand your question? What else are you trying to ask? Did you have a look at polyethene's structure? $\endgroup$ Mar 16, 2018 at 13:13
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    $\begingroup$ There may be a hydrogen, or oxygen, or whatever other atom attached to the first and the last unit of pretty much any polymer. It comes from nowhere, and it does not matter. Ditto for covalent solids. Do you know the structure of graphite or diamond, for example? $\endgroup$ Mar 16, 2018 at 13:19

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Yes, in The Characterization of Linear Polyethylene SRM 1475. II. Determination of Total Methyl Content by Infrared Spectrophotometry and references cited therein, it is confirmed that the polymer chains terminate with methyl groups (the repeating unit plus an additional hydrogen as you phrase it).

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  • $\begingroup$ Oh, but isn't the last carbon atom (before the terminal methyl group) bonded to two hydrogen atoms? (apart from being bonded to the terminal methyl group and the previous carbon of the chain) $\endgroup$ Mar 16, 2018 at 13:38
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    $\begingroup$ @GaurangTandon yes, the second and penultimate carbons have 2 hydrogens each and the first and last carbons have 3 hydrogens each. $\endgroup$
    – DavePhD
    Mar 16, 2018 at 13:47

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