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Polyethylene is a common plastic. Chemically, it is a very long hydrocarbon chain formed by polymerizing ethylene. While the suffix '-ene' normally indicates a carbon double bond, polyethylene has only single bonds - like many polymers, the name reflects the monomer it is synthesized from rather than the molecule itself.

When one of the hydrogens in polyethylene is substituted, the result is called a vinyl. Many common plastics are vinyls: polyvinylchloride, polystyrene and polypropylene.

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