About the book
Almost 85 years after its discovery in 1935, and its entry into the public market in 1940, Nylon is indisputably one of the most pervasive synthetic polymers in everyday applications.
The discovery of Nylon by Wallace Hume Carothers, a Harvard-educated world-renowned organic chemist born in Burlington, IA in 1896, successfully crowned the attempts developed by E.I du Pont de Nemours & Company to investigate the structure of high molecular weight polymers and to synthesize the first synthetic polymeric fibre.
When it hit the market, it was in the form of stockings and all the women in the US wanted to get their hands on a pair. Despite the successful launch of Nylon on the synthetic fibre market and the high expectations created by its extraordinary features, the unexpected war events in 1941 diverted the production of the new synthetic fibre almost exclusively on military applications. Parachutes, ropes, bootlaces, fuel tanks, mosquito nets and hammocks absorbed the production of Nylon, which helped to determine the WWII events. When the war ended and production returned to pre-war levels, consumers rushed to the department stores in search of stockings, accessories and high-fashion garments.
Even if the world of high fashion now seems to more appreciate the use of natural fibres, Nylon is one of the most widely used polymers for the production of technical fibres and fabrics, automotive and micromechanical components. The global nylon 6 & 66 market is expected to reach USD 41.13 billion by 2025, by the following growth at 6.1% CAGR owing to the Increasing focus on fuel-efficient and less polluting vehicles.
The amazing success story of Nylon still continues. While its wide availability inspired the development of innovative applications, such as the additive manufacturing, on the other hand, proper disposal after use of high amounts of Nylon resin energised the development of efficient recycling methodology, including chemical recycling. Moreover, the production of Nylon precursors from biomass has become desirable due to the depletion of fossil hydrocarbons and to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This unique combination of technical and socio-economic driving forces is one that aims to further promote the development of Nylon as one of the most suitable ""best polymers"" with a low ecological footprint.
The aim of this publication is to unveil the relationships between the chemical structure and the outstanding properties of the broad family of polyamides and to describe the most recent use of Nylon in fostering new applications and promoting a culture aware of environmental sustainability.