THE NYLON POLYMER
WHO?, WHAT?, WHEN?, AND
HOW? OF NYLON
Nylon was one of the first commercial polymers ever developed. It was first invented by a team of chemists at the Du Pont de Nemours and Company research facility in the 1930 s. This team was led by Dr. Wallace Hume Carothers. The goal of nylon was to create a polymer that was easily made into fiber form. The first nylon polymer that was created was the nylon 6,6 polymer.
CHEMICAL FORMULA AND
PROPERTIES OF NYLON
Chemical formula for Nylon Polymer 6,6:
H-O-CO-(CH2)4-COOH + H2N-(CH2)6-NH2 => NH-(CH2)6-NH- CO(CH2)4-CO + H2O
or adipic acid + hexamethylenediamine => nylon 6,6 + water
There are many different nylon polymers. The most common forms of nylon are nylon 6, and nylon 6,6. They are all named for the number of carbons in each monomer. The two ingredients used to made nylon 6,6 each have six carbons, and that is why the polymer is called nylon 6,6. Many synthetic plastics of high weight such as nylon are manufactured as fibers. Nylon s properties include high strength, toughness, elasticity, chemical and abrasion resistance.
Nylon is often formed through a condensation reaction. This occurs when there is a formation of a single bond between two molecules and then accompanied by the removal of water molecules. Nylon polymer 6,6 is constructed by the continual condensation of hexanedioic acid with hexamethylenediamine.
USES OF NYLON
Nylon 6 and nylon 6,6 were the first commercial nylons. There are many applications for the various types of nylons. Some nylons are used as engineering plastics in gears, sliders, rollers, door latches and wire coverings. It is also used domestically in toothbrush bristles, clothing, carpets, rope, and backpacks. Nylon stockings quickly became very popular among women. Shortly after its invention, World War II began, and it was used in parachutes, tire cord, and other equipment. Because of its major uses in the war, it made it almost impossible for women to buy a pair of stockings.
As illustrated, nylon has many diverse functions in different areas. Although nylon was first developed as a fiber, it quickly gained uses. Nylon also lead the way for many other synthetic polymers. People will likely keep developing new uses for the nylon polymers and other similar polymers.