Nylon is a thermoplastic silky material, first used commercially in a nylon-bristled toothbrush (1938), followed more famously by women's stockings ("nylons"; 1940). It is made of repeating units linked by amide bonds and is frequently referred to as polyamide (PA). Nylon was the first commercially successful synthetic polymer. There are two common methods of making nylon for fiber applications. In one approach, molecules with an acid (COOH) group on each end are reacted with molecules containing amine (NH2) groups on each end. The resulting nylon is named on the basis of the number of carbon atoms separating the two acid groups and the two amines. These are formed into monomers of intermediate molecular weight, which are then reacted to form long polymer chains.
Nylon was intended to be a synthetic replacement for silk and substituted for it in many different products after silk became scarce during World War II. It replaced silk in military applications such as parachutes and flak vests, and was used in many types of vehicle tires.
Solid nylon is used for mechanical parts such as machine screws, gears and other low- to medium-stress components previously cast in metal. Engineering-grade nylon is processed by extrusion, casting, and injection molding. Solid nylon is used in hair combs. Type 6,6 Nylon 101 is the most common commercial grade of nylon, and Nylon 6 is the most common commercial grade of molded nylon. Nylon is available in glass-filled variants which increase structural and impact strength and rigidity, and molybdenum sulfide-filled variants which increase lubricity.
Aramids are another type of polyamide with quite different chain structures which include aromatic groups in the main chain. Such polymers make excellent ballistic fibres.
Bill Pittendreigh, DuPont, and other individuals and corporations worked diligently during the first few months of World War II to find a way to replace Asian silk and hemp with nylon in parachutes. It was also used to make tires, tents, ropes, ponchos, and other military supplies. It was even used in the production of a high-grade paper for U.S. currency. At the outset of the war, cotton accounted for more than 80% of all fibers used and manufactured, and wool fibers accounted for the remaining 20%. By August 1945, manufactured fibers had taken a market share of 25% and cotton had dropped.
The above definition of nylon has been obtained from the Wikipedia website on June 14, 2011. The Nylon Prices website (Apparel Search Company) has modified the definition. If you wish to view the most current and non-modified version, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nylon.
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Nylon 6/6 was the first nylon material available in rod, sheet and tube form for industrial application. Nylon 6/6 is a superior performer. Of all the unmodified nylons, it has the highest melting point, is the strongest, and the most rigid. Nylon 6/6 is an excellent replacement for a wide range of different materials ranging from metals to rubber beacuse of its toughness, and combination of low coefficient of friction and good abrasion resistance. This product also has outstanding resistance to alkalies and organic materials, as well as good electrical insulating characteristics and noise damping properties. Standard metal working equipment is suitable in the fabrication of precision parts. The combination of machinability, excellent properties, and performance have made Nylon 6/6 the most widely used nylon in American industry.
Nylon 6/12 possesses similar properties to that of Nylon 6/6, however, Nylon 6/12 has a higher temperature rating and lower water absorption.
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