Paul Flory

Paul Flory

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Paul Flory

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Paul John Flory (June 19, 1910 – September 9, 1985) was an American chemist and Nobel laureate who was known for his prodigious volume of work in the field of polymers, or macromolecules. He was a leading pioneer in understanding the behavior of polymers in solution, and won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1974 "for his fundamental achievements, both theoretical and experimental, in the physical chemistry of macromolecules."


Early life

After graduating from Elgin High School in Elgin, Illinois in 1927, Flory received a bachelor's degree from Manchester College in 1931 and a Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in 1934. His first position was at DuPont with Wallace Carothers.* Morris, Peter J. T. Polymer Pioneers: A Popular History of the Science and Technology of Large Molecules Center for History of Chemistry, Philadelphia (1986) p. 70-73

Polymer science

Flory's earliest work in polymer science was in the area of polymerization kinetics at the DuPont Experimental station. In condensation polymerization, he challenged the assumption that the reactivity of the end group decreased as the macromolecule grew, and by arguing that the reactivity was independent of the size, he was able to derive the result that the number of chains present decreased with size exponentially. In addition polymerization, he introduced the important concept of chain transfer to improve the kinetic equations and remove difficulties in...
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