Nylon, Always in Style
How Nylon Was Created
In 1920 a company called DuPont purchased a French rayon company called Comptoir de Textiles Artificiels for 4 million dollars. This was when DuPont began working with fabrics and other textiles. However in 1926 the director of the chemical department proposed to simply do research for the sake of finding new scientific facts and in 1927 the proposal was approved. He then hired 25 of the top researchers to work for him, and began his research.
One of these researchers was Wallace H Carothers, a young organic chemistry lecturer at Harvard University. Carothers and his team began researching polymerisation, a subject of which not much was known at the time. They succeeded soon after when, in 1930, the team successfully produced the first polyester made of a dialcohol and a dicarboxilic acid. Unfortunately the polyester had a very low boiling point which would not have succeeded as a commercial fiber because of the inability to iron or wash the material.
Research was difficult over the next 4 years as it was difficult to find polyester that would not melt or dissolve easily, so Carothers began looking into polyamides instead. On May 22cd 1934 the decision bore fruit when the team created the first nylon. However it was very difficult to make so the team kept looking. Within a year they had narrowed it down to two options but eventually decided on polyamide 6, 6. This was the very first commercial nylon. Chemical Structure of Nylon
Nylon 6, 6 is a polyamide made from hexamethylenediamine and adapic acid. It has a very high melting point so that it can be washed and ironed with ease. Nylon 6, 6 is also a very resistant material due to its hydrogen bonding, so there are no runs in women’s stockings. Because of its chemical characteristics nylon 6, 6 was a dream come true for women which was the reason for the polymers initial...
Cited: 1. Audra J. Wolfe, “Nylon: A Revolution in Textiles”, Chemical Heritage, March 22cd 2014, http://www.chemheritage.org/discover/media/magazine/articles/26-3-nylon-a-revolution-in-textiles.aspx?page=1
2. Bruno Garcia, “Nylon Rationing in WWII”, OMG Facts, March 25th 2013, March 24th 2014, http://www.omg-facts.com/History/There-was-a-nylon-rationing-during-WWII/56532
3. Mary Bellis “A History of Nylon Stockings” About Inventors, March 25th 2014, http://inventors.about.com/od/nstartinventions/a/Nylon_Stockings.htm
4. Mary Bellis, “Wallace Carothers - History of Nylon,” About Inventors, March 22cd 2014, http://inventors.about.com/od/nstartinventions/a/nylon.htm
5. “Nylon 6, 6” Serrata, March 25th 2014 http://www.serrata.com.au/Support/MolecModels/downloads/files/1021048-Nylon.pdf
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