The aggregation of monomers into polymers, whether by covalent or noncovalent interactions, is often reversible and frequently occurs with the entropy and enthalpy of the aggregation sharing the same sign. In such a case, the aggregation goes forward or reverses, depending on such variables as temperature and composition, rather like a phase transition. We explore the physical chemistry of three such systems: an organic monomer (α-methylstyrene), an inorganic monomer (sulfur), and a biopolymer (actin). We compare the available theories and experiments and list issues still open.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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