How is nylon made?
Nylon is a long chain polyamide formed as a result of the reaction between a diamine and dicarboxylic acid. The monomer of nylon is caprolactam while for nylon 6,6 it is hexamethylenediamine adipate. However, nylon 6,6 is widely used in the textile industry.
The steps involved in the manufacturing of nylon 6,6 are as follows:
• Polymerization: The two raw materials that are adipic acid and hexamethylenediamine are mixed in an in reaction chamber which results in the formation of a solution called nylon salt.
• Heating: The molten polymer is then extracted from the tank as a ribbon which is then rapidly cooled, dried and made into nylon chips.
• Spinning: The nylon chips are then fed into a hopper which is heated. This converts the chips into a solution which is then passed through a spinneret (a sieve-like device with holes).
• Drawing: Cold air is blown when the filaments are passed through the spinning machine. This helps to parallelise or orient the molecules.
• The fibers may be stretched in the drawing process in order to increase the strength and elasticity.
• The length and the diameter of the fiber can be controlled by the manufacturer by altering the size of the spinneret.
• The long continuous filaments thus obtained can be easily spun and made into garments.