What is nylon?

- Jul 14, 2017 -

Nylon was first developed in the 1930s by DuPont scientist Wallace Carothers. Nylon is a group of synthetic polymers known as thermoplastics or aliphatic polyamides, which are derived from petroleum. It was originally manufactured as an alternative to silk, but its first commercial application was for toothbrush bristles in 1938 followed by women’s stockings in 1940.

Nylon is made through a chemical reaction in a process known as ring-opening polymerization. The molecules of the raw materials from which nylon is made are in ring form. But a chemical reaction, usually between adipoyl chloride and hexamethylene diamine causes the rings to open and flatten into curly strings that bond to one another. When nylon is stretched, the fibers become thin and smooth yet retain their strength.

During WWII, nylon was used extensively by the military and was difficult to obtain by the general public. Today, nylon remains one of the most commonly used fabrics in the world, second only to cotton. Also, being fabric, nylon can be condensed into a hard but flexible solid to be used for mechanical parts, gears, hair combs and other items.

Of course Nylon is very often associated with the clothing industry and it is often credited as paving the way for easy care items. It's so popular in clothing because it's generally very easy to launder and take care of, it dries quickly and retains it's shape well and it's also extremely strong and elastic. Another great benefit of Nylon is that it will melt by not burn. Nylon is also colorless to start with by dyes very well.

With all that said the main thing you need to remember about nylon is that it's ideal for making your jacket or bags and we're proud to offer it as one of our fabric options!

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