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Nylon, facts about nylon

Nylon has been the leading synthetic fiber since the 1940s, when nylon stockings, or nylons, first appeared on the market. It was the original synthetic fiber. Wallace Carothers, an American chemist, first produced it in about 1935.

Nylon is strong, resists wear and rotting, needs no ironing, and 'drip dries'. It is widely used in shirts, socks, and all kinds of clothing, either by itself or mixed with other fibers. In thick filament form, it is used to make fishing nets and strings for tennis rackets. Nylon is called synthetic because it is made wholly from chemicals. It is made by a process called polymerization, in which small molecules combine together to form larger ones, called polymers. The nylon polymer is called a polyamide. Polyamides are suitable for making fibers because their molecules are in the form of long chains.

Nylon is made by heating in a pressure cooker, called an autoclave, a mixture of two chemicals derived from coal tar, petroleum, or natural gas. The nylon polymer is made into fibers by melt spinning. It is forced while molten through holes in a spinneret, just like all synthetic fibers. Nylon is widely used for many products. It is filled with oil and floated. Nylon is also used to make extremely high quality rope etc.

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