In Part I of this work, the determination of the crystal structures of three long-chain polymers by interpretation of x-ray diffraction photographs was described. In all three crystals—β-gutta-percha, rubber and polychloroprene—themolecules have nonplanar zigzag chain forms and are asymmetric. It is now necessary to consider the bearing of the new knowledge of molecular geometry on the possibility of understanding rubber like properties in terms of molecular physics. It is widely believed that the flexibility, softness and other characteristic properties of rubberlike substances are in some way due to the flexibility of the molecules themselves. Long-chain molecules owe their potential flexibility to the swivelling of the chain units around the single bonds as axes, and it is therefore necessary to consider which bond positions are the most stable and what hindrances there are to rotation away from these positions. The present paper deals chiefly with the question of the most stable bond positions. The enquiry has interest, not only in relation to the problem of the origin of rubberlike properties, but also because it opens the way to a systematic consideration of chain types. There is already evidence that in many crystalline long-chain polymers, such as rubber hydrochloride, polyisobutylene, and some of the polyesters, the chains have not the fully extended plane zigzag form of polyethylene, but somewhat shortened (necessarily nonplanar) forms. It should be possible to discover what these forms are by interpretation of x-ray diffraction photographs, but the difficulties are in some cases formidable; some assistance in the form of guiding principles for the construction of possible chain types is desirable. It is the purpose of this paper to show that sufficient evidence already exists to suggest a general principle regulating bond positions in aliphatic molecules containing sequences of singly linked atoms. It will be called the principle of staggered bonds. In the three molecules whose structures were determined in Part I, every fourth chain bond is a double bond; the question of bond positions is less simple for such molecules than it is for those in which all the bonds are single. The latter will therefore be considered first.

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