A strong, light, synthetic polymer. The name comes from the number of carbon atoms in the repeating units, 6 and 10 in this case. There are other types of Nylons in which the repeating units contain numbers of carbon atoms different from 6 and 10. For example, an important commercial Nylon is called '6-6' in which each repeating unit contains 6 carbon atoms. Incidently, the repeating units also contain hydrogen (H), nitrogen (N), and oxygen atoms (O) in addition to carbon (C) atoms

...and it's called nylon because, when first synthesized, it seemed as though it could stretch from New York to London.

I remember making some in school chemistry lessons - the stuff could be pulled as a slightly gungy string from the beaker of gunge, and pulled around the entire room.

From the alt.folklore.urban FAQ:

The du Pont Co. has claimed (1940) that "nylon" was an arbitrary coinage, but also (1978) that it was a modification of "no run" spelled backwards.

In particular, see: http://www.urbanlegends.com/language/etymology/nylon_etymology_of.html.

Nylon is a polymer that was made by Dupont. Basically, it's a synthetic fabric, the material is made from a repeating chain of groups of Carbon atoms. It's lightweight.

It came into being in 1940, when it was first used for hoisery. In 1942 it was called into service for the armed forces use in parachutes, flak vests, combat uniforms, tires and many other vital military uses.

Parachutes were the main reason for its demand. In World War II, all parachutes were made of silk. The problem of the time was that Japan was the world's largest maker of silk, and they weren't interested in sharing at the time. Once it came out, Nylon became the standard for the parachute fabric. It was even better, as it handles water better.

Dupont had labs aroud the world working on it. In a strange coincidence, the New York lab developed the polymer, but at the same exact time the London branch claimed they made it first. They were pretty much identical, which created a problem. The creators usually got ther right to name their creation. To compromise, it was called Nylon. NY-Lon.

Until the war was over nylon was not available to the public. Nylon became one of the most versatile fibers of the man-made fabrics. In addition to hosiery, nylon is used in tricot, netting for bridal veils, and in carpeting.

The stuff has some amazing uses. It works great in clothing, handles water well, being water resistant. If you're going to sweat or work out, Nylon is much better, as it keeps the sweat away from you, as opposed to Cotton, which absorbs it like a sponge.

It's also used in kites. I believe the majority of a space suit is nylon, or at least the fabric is composed of it.

Facts about the molecule from my college professor, and http://www.fabrics.net/manufact.asp

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