Title: Nylon
Additional Names: Polyamide
Literature References: Generic term used to describe "a manufactured fiber in which fiber-forming substances are any long-chain synthetic polyamide having recurring polyamide groups (-CONH-) as an integral part of the polymer chain". Formed from various combinations of diacids, diamines, and amino acids. May be formed also by addition polymerization. The linear polyamides have achieved the greatest commercial success. Shorthand nomenclature of nylons involves the use of numbers: a single numeral indicating the number of carbon atoms in a monomer, e.g. nylon 6; two numbers indicating a polymer formed from diamines and dibasic acids, the first numeral indicating the number of carbon atoms separating the nitrogen atoms of the diamine, the second indicating the number of straight-chain carbon atoms in the dibasic acid, e.g. nylon 6,6. First produced by E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. according to patents of W. H. Carothers. The name nylon was dedicated to public domain on Oct. 27, 1938 at the Herald Tribune Forum where the product itself was announced. Reviews: R. W. Moncrieff, Man-Made Fibres (John Wiley, New York, 1963) pp 335-355; Snider, Richardson, "Polyamide Fibers" in Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Technology vol. 10 (Interscience, New York, 1969) pp 347-460; J. H. Saunders, "Polyamides (Fibers)" in Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology vol. 18 (Wiley-Interscience, New York, 3rd ed., 1982) pp 372-405. Book: Nylon Plastics, M. I. Kohan, Ed. (Wiley-Interscience, New York, 1973).
Properties: Crystalline solids characterized by low specific gravity, high strength, durability, high flexibility, and high tensile strength. Soluble in phenol, cresols (especially m-cresol), xylenol, formic acid. Insoluble in alcohols, esters, ketones, hydrocarbons. Hydrolysis and degradation occur at higher temperatures, esp in the melt. Stable to aqueous alkali. Degrades rapidly in aqueous acids. Undergoes photodegradation.
Use: In production of synthetic fibers for various textile and domestic uses. Surgical aid (nonabsorbable suture).

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