How to Make Nylon

What was the first synthetic polymer fiber ever synthesized by man? If you
did not say Nylon, you are not paying attention. That’s right, Nylon was invented in 1938 by E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. And the world has never been the same.


1. In a 150 mL tall-form beaker, dissolve 1.0 mL of pure sebacoyl chloride in 50 mL of methylene
chloride (careful, suspected carcinogen).

2. In a different, small beaker, combine 10 mL of 1M aqueous sodium hydroxide with 15 mL water.

3. To the small beaker solution, stir in 0.55 grams of pure 1,6-hexanediamine until it dissolves.

4. Now take the tall-form beaker and tilt it. Slowly pour the contents of the small beaker down
the side of the tall beaker without mixing the layers.

5. A polymer film should form at the interface between the two layers.

6. Take a long wire and twist a hook at one end.

7. Gently grasp the center of the film with the wire hook.

8. Pull up the film and wrap the end around a cardboard paper towel tube.

9. Slowly rotate the paper tube and wind it until all of the film comes out of the solution.

10. Unwind the Nylon into a beaker containing 100 mL of 50% ethanol. Stir gently to wash the

11. Pour the ethanol out of the beaker. Remove the Nylon and place on a paper towel to thoroughly

12. Repeat several times to gather enough Nylon to make panty hose.


W.H. Carothers – Invented Nylon

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