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What Is Nylon?

Nylon was first manufactured in 1930s, by the Dupont Chemical Company. It was first marketed as an affordable alternative to silk. It was light, strong, and could be dyed into beautiful colors and patterns. It was also considerably stronger than silk, and could withstand a lot of wear and tear before being damaged. For this reason, nylon was used in military gear during the second world war, such as parachutes and ropes. The slow decay rate, though, poses an environmental issue. It takes so long for nylon to disintegrate that nylon products now fill landfills all over the world.

And there are a lot of nylon products. It continues to be one of the most popular fabrics and is the second most commonly used fiber in America. This is because it is very easy and cheap to produce, and is so durable that it can even be made into bullet proof vests. The process of making nylon is called ring opening polymerization, and involves flattening molecules of the amide group. Other procedures depend on the chemical interaction between adipoyl chloride and hexamethylene diamine. These lead to very long, lean nylon fibers. These are normally tangled and clumped together, but these are stretched into long parallel lines. The manufacturing process can be tweaked to create very thin threads such as those found in nylon stockings to the thick, quick-dry garments used in camping and outdoor clothing. There are also coarser, sturdier nylon used in making tooth brush bristles. Nylon is also known to be sensitive to heat and so must be washed using the coolest setting of the washing machine.

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