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Compendium of Macromolecular Nomenclature
The Purple Book, First Edition

Prepared for publication by W.V. Metanomski
Blackwell Science, 1991 [ISBN 0-63202-8475, paper back]

> contents and online contents ; translations

The IUPAC Commission on Macromolecular Nomenclature is the leading nomenclature body in the polymer field. It produced a series of rules and definitions that has shaped modern nomenclature and placed it on a systematic basis. More recently, the Commission has developed sets of definitions for many of the basis terms dealing with polymer molecules, assemblies of polymer molecules, polymer solutions, and polymers crystals. It continues to work to develop definitions of terms relating to polymer melts and solids, and polymerization reactions. The commission is also extending existing nomenclature to more complicated cases, such as irregular polymers, cross-linked polymers, double-strand polymers, interpenetrating networks, and multicomponent polymer systems.

This Compendium is a compilation of the IUPAC recommendations on macromolecular nomenclature which provides definitions of terms relating to polymers and rules for naming polymers based on structure or source. An introduction to macromolecular nomenclature and bibliography of biopolymer-related nomenclature recommendations are also included. The IUPAC-approved terminology and nomenclature, by providing standardized descriptions of the materials and processes for polymer science and technology, are intended to improved communication in the scientific community.

CONTENTS - - - > See here for translations

World Wide Web version prepared by R.G. Gilbert.
Comments and updates should be directed to Edward S. Wilks.

- Preface
- History of the Commission on macromolecular nomenclature
> superseded by Norbert Bikales, Bob Fox and Bill Work, 2000
- Membership of the commission on macromolecular nomenclature
- Introduction to macromolecular nomenclature


  1. Basic definitions of terms relating to polymer (1974)
    > superseded by IUPAC Recommendations 1996, Pure Appl. Chem., Vol. 68, No.12, pp. 2287-2311, 1996
  2. Stereochemical definitions and notations relating to polymers (1980) [pdf file - 331KB]
  3. Definitions of terms relating to individual macromolecules, their assemblies, and dilute polymer solutions (1988) [pdf file - 375KB]
  4. Definitions of terms relating to crystalline polymers (1988) [pdf file - 112KB]


  5. Nomenclature of regular single-strand organic polymers (1975) [pdf file - 523KB]
  6. Nomenclature of regular single-strand and quasi-single-strand inorganic and coordination polymers (1984) [pdf file - 501KB]
  7. Source-based nomenclature for copolymers (1985) [pdf file - 94KB]
  8. A classification of linear single-strand polymers (1988) [pdf file - 169KB]
  9. Use of abbreviations for names of polymeric substances (1986) [pdf file - 18KB]

    APPENDIX [pdf file - 54KB]
    Bibliography of biopolymer-related IUPAC-IUB
    Nomenclature recommendations

A second edition is currently in preparation, which will include some of the most recent IUPAC Recommendations prepared by the Commission.
> See corresponding project

See also
> Guide for the authors of papers and reports in polymer science and technology (June 2001)
> Translations of the "Compendium of Macromolecular Nomenclature" (The Purple Book) and of the Individual Chapters

> IUPAC Nomenclature Books Series

Page last modified 13 January 2006.
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