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Pure and Applied Chemistry

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Volume 81, Issue 2 (Jan 2009)


Dispersity in polymer science (IUPAC Recommendations 2009)

Robert F. T. Stepto
  • Corresponding author
  • Polymer Science and Technology Group, Manchester Materials Science Centre, School of Materials, The University of Manchester, Grosvenor Street, Manchester, M1 7HS, UK
Published Online: 2009-01-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1351/PAC-REC-08-05-02

This recommendation defines just three terms, viz., (1) molar-mass dispersity, relative-molecular-mass dispersity, or molecular-weight dispersity; (2) degree- of-polymerization dispersity; and (3) dispersity. "Dispersity" is a new word, coined to replace the misleading, but widely used term "polydispersity index" for Mw/Mn and Xw/Xn. The document, although brief, also has a broader significance in that it seeks to put the terminology describing dispersions of distributions of properties of polymeric (and non-polymeric) materials on an unambiguous and justifiable footing.

Keywords: degree-of-polymerization dispersity; dispersity; IUPAC Polymer Division; molar-mass dispersity; molecular-weight dispersity; polydispersity; polydispersity index; relative-molecular-mass dispersity

Project Year: 2008, Project Code: 2008-022-1-400


  • 1.

    IUPAC. Compendium of Polymer Terminology and Nomenclature (the "Purple Book"), prepared for publication by R. G. Jones, J. Kahovec, R. Stepto, E. S. Wilks, M. Hess, T. Kitayama, W. V. Metanomski, with advice from A. Jenkins and P. Kratochvil, RSC Publishing, Cambridge, UK (2008); Chap. 3.

  • 2. (a)

    The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd ed., C. T. Onions, G. W. S. Friedrichsen (Eds.), Oxford University Press (1973);

  • 2. (b)

    The Pocket Oxford Dictionary of Current English, 6th ed., J. B. Sykes (Ed.), Oxford University Press (1978).

About the article

Published Online: 2009-01-01

Published in Print: 2009-01-01

Citation Information: Pure and Applied Chemistry, ISSN (Online) 1365-3075, ISSN (Print) 0033-4545, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1351/PAC-REC-08-05-02. Export Citation

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