This classification of polymers is based upon how the monomeric units are linked together. Based on their structure, the polymers are classified as:
1. Linear polymers: these are the polymers in which monomeric units are linked together to form long straight chains. The polymeric chains are stacked over one another to give a well packed structure. As a result of close packing, such polymers have densities, high tensile strength and high melting points. Common examples of such type of polymers are polyethylene, nylons and polyesters.
2. Branched chain polymers: in this type of polymers, the monomeric units are linked to constitute, long chains (called the main-chain). There are side chains of varied lengths which comprise branches. Branched chain polymers are irregularly packed and thus, they have low density, lower tensile strength and lower melting points as compared to linear polymers. Amylopectin and glycogen are common examples of this type.
3. Network polymers or Cross-linked: in this type of polymers, the monomeric units are linked together to constitute a three-dimensional network. The links involved are called cross-links. Cross-linked polymers are hard, rigid and brittle because of their network structure. Common examples of this type of polymers are Bakelite, melamine formaldehyde resin, etc.