Nylon Chemical Structure and Applications

2458 words (10 pages) Essay in Chemistry

18/05/20 Chemistry Reference this

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Organic chemistry is a chemical branch involved with carbon compounds and particularly carbon compounds found in living things. Originally restricted to compounds generated by living organisms, this branch of chemistry has been expanded to include human-made substances like polymers. Polymers are substances with a molecular structure that consists mainly or entirely of a large number of related units, such as Nylon. Nylon is the most helpful synthetic material with applications that vary from day-to-day to industry processes. It is a plastic for creating facilities that can be drawn into fibres or folded into everyday products. It is used to make plastic machine components as it is cost-effective and durable. It is often used for its non-conductivity and heat resistance in the electronics industry.


Nylons are among the most frequently used polymers as fibres. Nylon has great fishing line and trimmer line characteristics, plus it is used for some “plastic” screws and push-in connectors. Because of the distinctive amide groups in the backbone chain, nylons are also called polyamides. Proteins, like the replacement of silk nylon, are also polyamides. These amide groups are very polar and can bond with each other in terms of hydrogen. For this reason, and because the backbone of nylon is so regular and symmetrical. Its chemical structure is shown in Figure 1. Hydrogen bonding is the most significant intermolecular force in nylon. One nylon chain’s nitrogen-bonded hydrogen atoms will form a very strong hydrogen bond with another nylon chain’s carbonyl oxygen atoms. These hydrogen bonds produce very powerful nylon crystals because they very tightly hold the nylon chains together.

Figure 1: chemicalstructureofNylon

   By: (Yurtoğlu, 2018)


Nylon is produced when a condensation polymerisation reaction combines the suitable monomers (the chemical building blocks that make up polymers) to form a long chain. Nylon 6-6 monomers are adipic acid and diamine hexamethylene, this is shown in Figure 2. To generate the polymer, the two molecules are combined and water (H2O) is generated as a by-product. The water is removed from the manufacturing method as its ongoing existence prevents more polymer from being created. The polymer chain can consist of more than 20,000 monomer units, linked together through an amide group containing an atom of nitrogen. With only weak forces, such as hydrogen bonds, the nylon molecules are very flexible between the polymer chains, which tend to tangle randomly. It doesn’t need a catalyst to make nylon 6,6, but acids catalyse the reaction, one of the monomers is an acid itself. A small response occurs between two molecules of adipic acid. To get things started, one will donate a proton to another’s carbonyl oxygen. The carbonyl oxygen becomes much more susceptible to attack by diamine’s nitrogen when this oxygen is protonated. This is because it has a positive charge for the protonated oxygen. Oxygen doesn’t like being charged positively. So, it pulls towards itself the electrons it shares with the carbonyl. This leaves the carbonyl carbon without electrons and is prepared to give it a couple of amine nitrogen.

 Figure 2: Condensationpolymerisation.

        By: (PSLC, 2019)


After using nylon products and no longer wanting to be thrown in the trash, human beings must have a method of disposing of nylon as well. This creates issue because Nylon has an extremely slow rate of decline, meaning that Nylon products are built up globally in landfills. An alternative technique of disposing of nylon is therefore to incinerate it, but there are some damaging products in this technique. Nylon’s most popular heat breakdown products include “carbon monoxide, ammonia, aliphatic amines, ketones, nitrils, and cyanide hydrogen”. However, based on different variables such as temperature, exposure time and environmental variables, some products may vary. For instance, hydrogen cyanide, which is a gas just above room temperature, is extremely toxic because these products are not useful for the atmosphere or health.


Nylon is a widely used material made from synthetic polymers also known as plastics. Nylon is helpful for creating fishing nets, ropes, parachutes and other types of cables because it is a high resistance fibre. Or it can be used to make fabric products. Crinkled nylon is used to make elastic hosiery, and other nylon may even be used as plastic to make machine components, but it needs to be mixed with wool to boost power. Nylon is long-lasting. It wears well, which in clothing and other fabrics is a significant characteristic. Other products such as cotton or spandex can also be mixed. Nylon is water-resistant inherently. Nylon tends to push it to the surface, where it evaporates more easily, rather than absorbing and maintaining moisture like natural fibres. Since nylon is a synthetic man-made fabric rather than a natural fabric that must be farmed or harvested from livestock, the material is less costly naturally. Although it may not carry the same aura as merino wool or cashmere, for instance, to obtain a comparable feeling, nylon may be woven. As a consequence, nylon clothing is usually less expensive than products produced from similar natural sources.

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Even though there are many advantages from using Nylon, there are still some disadvantages associated from its use. While nylon is fire-resistant, it readily melts. It can also readily shrink and react with moisture, allowing it to be stretched too readily. Nylon is hygroscopic, so even from air it absorbs water. Nylon swells and deteriorates rapidly when wet. The components should not be subjected to nylon fasteners, which involves sunlight. It lacks UV resistance and becomes yellow regardless of colour, becoming fragile and rapidly deteriorating. Neither can nylon be subjected to exceptionally elevated temperatures. Generally speaking, these fasteners can only withstand a continuous service temperature of 121 ° F or 223 ° C, making them unsuitable for machinery or products that are heated when in use, such as those used in building.


Nylon has many characteristics that in many apps make it a very helpful fibre. It is very powerful and elastic; it is also simple to clean and can generally be cleaned with comparable products and generally does not involve special laundry arrangements. It is used in dress socks, swimwear, shorts, track pants, active wear, windbreakers, bedspreads and draperies as a fabric. Uses that are less frequently found include flaked jackets, parachutes, combat uniforms, and life jackets; the fibre is also frequently used in the manufacture of umbrellas, luggage, and bridal veil netting. Nylon textile materials develop static electricity, as they are unable to absorb sufficient water molecules to dissipate any build-up of it. Compounds containing hydroxyl groups are added to its spinning solutions. The addition of hydroxyl containing compounds will attract an increased number of water molecules. 

The effects of nylon on the environment are important and should be investigated. Nylon manufacturing results in nitrous oxide release, a greenhouse gas that contributes significantly to worldwide warming. Also, nylon is not suitable for natural dyes and chemical dyes with the smallest effect, which means that the fibre colouring method also causes important water pollution. With more nylon being produced in nations with weaker environmental protection, this makes nylon a major contributor to water pollution and therefore water insecurity in the developing world. Nylon is not biodegradable and will continue to exist forever in the setting. Nylon fishing nets and synthetic textile fibres that wear off during washing are the two biggest sources of micro plastic pollution in the ocean. This implies that there is an important effect of nylon on the aquatic setting. Nylon production is a very thirsty method; big quantities of water are used for fibre cooling, which can be a cause of pollution and environmental contamination. Another issue with nylon is linked to thermal processing, during this process nylon could trigger several health issues if somebody breathes in the fumes or dust, some of the issues include irritation of mucous membranes in the nose and throat, mechanical eye irritation and skin irritation.


Nylon will continue to influence the life of people in the future, but it can be either good or bad. Because of its great properties, it will still be very useful in the future and there may be new uses for nylon, but it could still be replaced with other better new materials. Making nylon utilizes big quantities of water to cool, and a big quantity of energy will be used for this. Nylon is also harmful to the environment, although nylon itself does not harm the environment, but the nylon method does. A greenhouse gas called nitrous oxide will form during the process of manufacturing nylon and as this material is useless to the factories it is released as waste into the atmosphere. Nitrous oxide has a 150-year lifespan so it will remain in the reduced stratosphere destroying our ozone layer. Another issue with the disposal of nylon is that most of the nylon products used ended up in landfills because nylon takes a long time to break down and nylon products will be built up in landfills. The most efficient way to destroy nylon is therefore to burn it, but this technique will generate some damaging substances like carbon monoxide and ammonia. Because of all these problems associated with using nylon, it would be better for the environment to be replaced with other material that is not harmful.



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