thermosets, materials that can not be softened on heating. In thermosetting polymers, the polymer chains are joined (or cross-linked) by intermolecular bonding. Thermosets are usually supplied as partially polymerized or as monomer-polymer mixtures. Cross-linking is achieved during fabrication using chemicals, heat, or radiation; this process is called curing or vulcanization. Important thermosets include phenolics, ureas, melamines, epoxies, polyesters, silicones, rubbers, and polyurethanes.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.