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History of Nylon that You Don't Know

Aug. 26. 2019

Before the 20th century, people used natural fibers such as wool, cotton, silk and so on. But natural fabrics are not easy to obtain, and people decided to make a material that could replace natural fibers. The DuPont Group saw the potential of the market and decided to conduct research on new materials, which opened the curtain for the debut of nylon.

In 1928, DuPont, founded by the DuPont family, hired and lectured at Harvard University and studied Wallace Hume Carothers as the director of organic chemistry research at the laboratory. During this period, Carothers carefully studied the polycondensation reaction (polymerization between functional groups). In 1930, the assistant of Carothers discovered that the high polyester obtained by the polycondensation reaction of the diol and the dicarboxylic acid can melt the filaments like cotton candy, and even the fibrous filaments After cooling, the stretching can be continued, and the stretching length can be several times longer. After cooling and drawing, the strength, elasticity, transparency, and gloss of the fiber are greatly increased, and the yarn can be spun into silk, and then cooled to obtain a certain degree. Resilience can stretch several times of fibrous filaments. Can such a fiber filament be used to replace natural fibers such as silk for weaving? From 1933 to 1934, Carothers and his assistants synthesized hundreds of nylon fibers. In 1935, they finally invented a synthetic fiber with good flexibility and high tensile strength and named it nylon-66.

PA66 Compound

PA66 Compound

The emergence of PA66 Compound has stunned the time, because nylon-66 is synthesized using chemical elements such as carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen which are easily extracted from air, water, coal or petroleum, and the cost is low. In 1939, DuPont quickly began a large-scale industrial production, and announced that it is "a nylon yarn that is thinner than spider silk and stronger than steel wire." Nylon-66 first opened the market in the socks industry, when DuPont used a 30-foot thigh model with nylon socks to promote it. Women in Western countries like to wear light-colored socks. The original cotton-wool and wool-woven socks are not suitable for this requirement, and they look thicker; the price of silk is expensive, and the socks made of nylon are thin and light. It is also strong and flexible and is, of course, popular with consumers. From 1938 to the end of 1939, nylon socks from the trial production to the large-scale market quickly spread throughout the United States, and then popular around the world. Various countries have introduced patents to build factories and put them into production. At that time, women all over the world bought more than four million pairs of nylon socks a day. This purchase boom was called "Nylon Fury" by the news media of the year.

Since then, people's research on nylon has not ended, except for hot air balloons, nylon nets, and underwear. Due to its toughness, self-lubricity, heat resistance, and insulation, nylon is widely used in machinery, automobiles, electrical appliances, textile equipment, chemical equipment, aviation, metallurgy, and other fields, and has entered all aspects of our lives.