The terms homopolymer, copolymer and terpolymer may sound like Latin or Greek to you. In any case, they're not complicated.
Let's start with the common thread "polymer" first. " Poly " comes from the Greek word for many. As it pertains to plastic, it means many of the building blocks of monomers such as ethylene, propylene, styrene, etc. strung together in long chains to add up to polymers.
For more in-depth, visit our post on "where does plastic come from ? "
If the polymer is made simply from only one monomer, it is called a HOMOpolymer, or made from only one monomer. POLYethylene, POLYpropylene, POLYstyrene, etc. Far as I can tell, 1,2 Syndioatctic Polybutadiene is a homopolymer even thought the word is long. Butadiene is the only monomer.
You guessed it - if there is another conjoined monomer ( not a mechanical blend ), you got a COpolymer. Examples: "ethylene vinyl acetate" or EVA for short - vinyl acetate monomer married to ethylene monomer, "styrene butadiene styrene" or SBS - styrene and butadiene building blocks,
And a TERpolymer is three monomers. An oldie-but-goodie example is old fashioned phones which were made from "acrylonitrile butadiene styrene" or ABS. Jump cut to present day - ABS is the default choice for 3 D printing. Ethyl Methyl Acrylate, or EMA is all around us in upholstery commonly referred to as the "quiet film"
photo courtesy of The Cathedral of Junk in Austin, TX