Nylon is a thermoplastic, silky material, first used commercially in a nylon-bristled toothbrush (1938), followed more famously by women’s stockings (“nylons”; 1940) after being introduced as a fabric at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Nylon is made of repeating units linked by peptide bonds and is a type of polyamide and is frequently referred to as such. Nylon was the first commercially successful synthetic thermoplastic polymer. Commercially, nylon polymer is made by reacting monomers which are either lactams, acid/amines or stoichiometric mixtures of diamines(-NH2) and diacids (-COOH). Mixtures of these can be polymerized together to make copolymers. Nylon polymers can be mixed with a wide variety of additives to achieve many different property variations.
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.
After initial commercialization of nylon as a fiber, applications in the form of shapes and films were also developed. The main market for nylon shapes now is in auto components, but there are many others.
The characteristic features of nylon 6,6 include:
On the other hand, nylon 6 is easy to dye, more readily fades; it has a higher impact resistance, a more rapid moisture absorption, greater elasticity and elastic recovery.
Nylon filaments are primarily used in brushes especially toothbrushes and ‘strimmers’. They are also used as monofilaments in fishing line. Nylon 610 and 612 are the most used polymers for filaments.
Its various properties also make it very useful as a material in additive manufacturing; specifically as a filament in consumer and professional gradefused deposition modeling 3D printers.
The main difference between nylon 6 and nylon 6,6 is nylon 6 has a much lower melting point than nylon 66. This is a serious disadvantage, as garments made from it must be ironed with considerable care.
The fiber has outstanding durability and excellent physical properties. Like PET fiber, it has a high melting point, which conveys good high- temperature performance. The fiber is more water sensitive than PET; despite this fact, nylon is not considered a comfortable fiber in contact with the skin. Its toughness makes it a major fiber of choice in carpets, including needle punched floor-covering products. Because of its relatively high cost, nylon has somewhat limited use in nonwoven products. It is used as a blending fiber in some cases, because it conveys excellent tear strength. The resiliency and wrinkle recovery performance of a nonwoven produced from nylon is not as excellent as that from PET fiber.
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