Nylon is one of the most durable and stretchy fabrics broadly used in clothing. Most of your clothes are made from this fabric. Its use has increased tremendously over the last few decades. When you come to know that the apparel you are wearing is made of nylon, the first question that hits your mind is What is nylon made of?
Here we will discuss nylon’s composition and properties, so stick till the end to know more about it.
What Is Nylon?
Nylon is a synthetic fabric used in apparel industries and other applications. It’s one of the leading synthetic fabrics used in different industries. It’s completely synthetic means it doesn’t have organic material in it. Nylon belongs to the family of synthetic polymers and has a silk-like look, which makes it more premium. It is composed of polyamides through a process called polymerization. The main thing that makes it preferable is that it will not stretch or shrink.
Nylon’s need rose in world war II when there wasn’t enough organic material to manufacture different stuff. So scientists start working on various projects to create something more durable and long-lasting. DuPont industry was known for producing synthetic ammonia in world war I. Still, after this, they kept on experimenting to make something else that would swap with organic material.
Later, they produce rayon, a type of synthetic fiber known as nylon precursor. On February 28, 1935, an American scientist named Wallace Hume Carothers synthesized a miracle fiber known as Nylon. It was officially released to national markets in 1940. First, it was used to make toothbrushes, but later women’s clothes were manufactured when it got popular. For the last few decades, nylon has been used in a variety of industries, making it the most popular fabric.
Read More About: Is Nylon Waterproof?
How Is Nylon Manufactured?
Nylon is synthesized from coal, petroleum, air, and water through a process known as polymerization. It involves chemicals and acids, while dyes are used when nylon is used in clothing industries. Let’s discuss the nylon manufacturing process.
In the first step of nylon production, two different substances are mixed; one is the amine group while the other is acid, mainly adipic acid. Different manufacturing companies use a variety of substances depending on the further use of nylon. But most commonly used are these two; after mixing them, a thick crystallized salt-like combination is produced known as Nylon Salt. The type of nylon produced at that time was called nylon 6 or 6-6; this name was given to them because there were six carbons in it.
Another method of nylon manufacturing involves using a specific structure having acid molecules at one end and the amine molecules at the other end. Carbons atoms of both compounds are mixed, forming different crystals. Then those crystals are dissolved in water and moved on to acidify them, after which they are heated to create an unbreakable chain of polymers.
Heating And Spinning
In the next step, polymers are heated at a particular temperature in a special machine designed for these polymers. A molten substance is produced and forced to move through a spinneret, a metallic tool with holes. Long thread-like structures are formed when polymers are passed through spinnerets. Then strands are exposed to air, where they get hard immediately. Hardened fibers are then stretched to increase elasticity.
At last, they are wounded and unwounded multiple times to align the molecules in a parallel structure. Technically, our main thing is produced, but different industries add different things like dyes or other chemicals depending on the use of nylon. Even a few of them melt it again to create a blend.
How Much Energy Does It Take To Manufacture Nylon?
Nylon production uses 250 megajoules of energy to produce 2.2 pounds of nylon. This is too much energy to produce a little amount of nylon. Polyester uses 125 megajoules of energy, while organic material like cotton uses 55 megajoules. This means that nylon consumes double the energy used in polyester production while five times more than cotton production.
Where Is Nylon Produced?
Nylon was born in America, where chemists of DuPont discovered it in the 1930s. It was produced in America until the middle of the 20th century and was being used at the local level. But in a few years, it got famous globally after a few well-developed countries started working on it.
After a few years, nylon production moved toward the East Asian countries, where China started its production. Later, Pakistan, India, and Indonesia also started, but it’s still produced in the United States to some extent. Nowadays, most leading nylon producers have lessened their production because of nylon’s negative impact on the environment.
Is Nylon Plastic?
Nylon is a type of plastic derived from petroleum used in different industries to produce various applications. It’s a thermoplastic that is more durable, long-lasting, amd inexpensive than any other plastic, but still, it has lots of outcomes.
What Is Nylon Used For?
Nylon is most commonly used in the production of our apparel, like in women’s footwear, fitting bottoms, and sportswear. It was used to manufacture toothbrushes at an early age, but later it was used in the production of women’s clothes and is still used in women’s clothes. Nylon is also used to make fishnets, parachutes, ropes, and different machine parts.
Impact Of Nylon Production On The Environment
Though nylon takes years to decompose, becoming one of the furious environmental hazards nowadays. But its production process also impacts negatively on our environment. Some of the negative impacts of nylon are as follows;
Emission Of Gasses
Nylon requires lots of energy in its production process, through which numerous gases are released into the atmosphere. One of the most deadly gasses that have a more negative impact on our environment is nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide; it is one of the leading causes of global warming, and its the biggest role in ozone depletion.
Release Of Contaminated Water
Water is used to produce almost everything, but plenty of water is used in nylon production, which is later released into the oceans or in open areas. This water contains lots of chemicals, dyes, and other harmful stuff. It has disturbed the whole aquatic life, leading to their death because there are microplastics in the water that fishes consume and die eventually.
Properties Of Nylon
A few of the properties of nylon that will make you buy it are as follows;
- Nylon is a durable synthetic fiber because of its strength and elasticity.
- It’s lightweight and water-resistant, due to which it dries quickly.
- Wrinkles will not form on it, making it easier to handle.
- It is oil and chemical-resistant.
Nylon is a plastic derived from petroleum, making it a thermoplastic. It requires a lot of energy in its production, leading to numerous hazards, but it’s still inexpensive, due to which most people prefer nylon clothes. Its production is mainly carried out in China nowadays but in some parts of the US.