As we know, dimers, trimers etc. can be produced from a certain amount monomers. In the case of a dimer being produced, two monomers dimerise.

Let's take an example of a dimer (glycine anhydride):

Glycine anhydride

Two glycine monomers were dimerised for this - it's a dimer since it has 2 (poly)amide bonds.

Now, let's take an example of an ester (ethyl ethanoate): Ethyl ethanoate

This is where my question comes in: would it not be appropriate to call ethyl ethanoate a monomer? As we saw with glycine anhydride, it has two (poly)amide bonds, hence it's a dimer. Ethyl ethanoate has a single ester bond, so would this not render it as a monomer? Or is this incorrect logic, since ethyl ethanoate isn't an oligomer/polymer per se?

P.S. I sometimes put the word 'poly' in parenthesis since I'm not sure whether its usage is necessary in description.

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    $\begingroup$ According to IUPAC, a monomer molecule is a molecule that can undergo polymerization, thereby contributing constitutional units to the essential structure of a macromolecule. If you want to call ethyl acetate a monomer, what kind of polymerization do you expect ethyl acetate to do? $\endgroup$ – user7951 Jun 30 '18 at 12:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Loong I don't expect it to do any polymerisation - I wasn't aware of the IUPAC definition. I was just wondering whether you could call it a monomer, based on what I mentioned about glycine anhydride. $\endgroup$ – chemistrygeek123 Jun 30 '18 at 12:22
  • $\begingroup$ This isn't what you were asking, but in computational chemistry, when performing multiple-molecule calculations to study intermolecular interactions, we often call single molecules monomers. By extension, there can be dimers, trimers, ..., and this has nothing to do with polymerization. $\endgroup$ – pentavalentcarbon Jul 3 '18 at 16:04

You can call it a monomer, although your audience will expect that you are about to present its oligomerization or polymerization. And according to IUPAC you should put parentheses if in the brackets you have the repeat unit of the polymer: e.g. poly(styrene).


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