An incredible event happened in the 1930¡¯s that has changed lives ever since. That event, the creation of nylon, has manipulated the way people dress and live their everyday lives. It even provided more employment opportunities and job improvements throughout the years.
A team of DuPont researchers, led by Dr. Wallace Hume Carothers, invented the first synthetic material, nylon, in 1934 (Adams 21). They were searching for an artificial replacement for silk when they drew out an elastic string from plastic, creating nylon.
There are two popular ways of creating nylon for fiber applications. One, ¡°molecules with an acid (COOH) group on each end are reacted with molecules containing amine (NH©ü) groups on each end.¡± The nylon 6,6 is made in this fashion. The other common way of making nylon fibers is by polymerizing a compound containing an amine at one end and an acid at the other, to form a chain with reoccurring groups of (-NH-[CH©ü]n-CO-)x. If the x=5, the fiber is named nylon 6 (Nylon Fiber).
This new invention had many better qualities and/or abilities than any other material in use already. Nylons are mostly known for their abilities to be dyed, to be unharmed by many kinds of household cleaning products or greases and oils, its rapid drying time, and above all, its silk-like appearance (The World Book). Nylons¡¯ tensile strength is greater than that of cottons, rayon, silk, and wool (Encarta). They also have characteristics that include elasticity, easy to clean, long lasting, abrasion resistant, lustrous, and resilient (Nylon Fiber).
Nylons are not easy to keep clean, no clothing materials are. However, if an accident does occur, they are very simple to treat. Most of the clothing that is made of nylon can be machine washed in low temperature water, unless otherwise noted when nylon is combined with another more sensitive fiber material. The clothing can then be tumble dried, also at a low temperature. Remove and hang clothing from dryers as soon as they are dry. This will aid in the prevention of wrinkles and the requirement of ironing. If the articles of clothing are not reached in time, and ironing is needed, be sure to read the garment label before taking a warm iron to the wrinkled mess (Nylon Fiber).
People are well aware that the clothing style changes practically everyday. However, the material in which those outfits are made, stay pretty much the same. Nylons can be found in almost all types of clothing. Nylon stockings first came out in 1940. So, whether it is dresses and bathing suits, or underwear and lingerie, many articles of clothing contain some type of nylon. Nylon can even be found in wind suits, rain coats, blouses, and even ski apparel (Nylon Fiber)! That¡¯s not all though, nylons are found in many other items that are used everyday. Believe it or not, nylon bristles were first used in the making of toothbrushes! Parts of automobiles, today, are equipped with nylon seat belts, body panels, and tires that all contain nylon products. Doctors and hospitals use nylon sutchers to sew up an injury or exposed internal areas (The World Book).
What about the one who got away? Any true fisherman or fisherwoman knows that the very line that he or she has wrapped around the bail while a big fish is on the other end, is more than likely made out of nylon. Nylon may be strong, but it is never able to hold an angry, fighting fish rubbing up on a rocky surface to break the line.