Nylon is the first synthetic polymer to have been successfully used for commercial purposes. A thermoplastic silky material, it was first used in a toothbrush with nylon bristles. Thereafter, it was also used for fashioning women stockings. With time, myriad other uses followed. For fiber applications, nylon is created by two methods. In the more common method, molecules with an acid (COOH) group on each end are made to react with molecules consisting of amine (NH2) groups on each end. The nylon then produced is named according to the number of carbon atoms separating the two acid groups and the two amines. In case you wish to know how nylon came into existence, follow the article and explore its history.
Interesting & Amazing Information On Origin & Background Of Nylon
The creation of nylon is credited to the DuPont Research Laboratory’s chemical division, which was then known as Purity Hall.During the late 1920’s, the laboratory roped in young promising scientists to conduct “fundamental” researches. Charles M. A. Stine, the head of DuPont Research Laboratory, believed that if the chemists reach at a fundamental understanding of the chemical processes involved in many of DuPont’s existing products, the manufacturing efficiency of DuPont will be enhanced, along with its reputation for making scientific contributions.
It was during this time that Stine met a chemist, Wallace Carothers, at Harvard. Stine offered him the opportunity to conduct pure research in the field of polymers. Within a short span of time, Carothers was appointed as the head of the chemical division and he decoded the large molecule (polymer) by publishing several papers that laid the terms for polymer research and condensation polymerization.Carothers’ team had discovered Neoprene, the first completely synthetic rubber, by 1930. Neoprene was synthesized to create the first polyester superpolymer, which was the predecessor of nylon.
DuPont took almost a decade to develop Neoprene into a profitable product, though Carothers, by now, was established as a leader in polymer chemistry by publishing papers that carried elaborate details of the discovery. By 1933, Carothers renewed work on synthetic fibers. His lab created the first polyamide fiber in 1939, which was patented as fiber by DuPont. The list of the product expanded rapidly and by 1939, nylon was exhibited at San Francisco Exposition in the form of nylon stockings. Though Carothers did not live to see the development of nylon, since he died in 1937, it has, over they years, evolved to be extensively used around the world, for varied purposes.