Man's physical universe

xanabras

N

I

684 CREATIVE CHEMISTRY

for use in automobile upholstery. It is prepared in much the same

manner as is "Lanital."

The United States Bureau of Dairy Industry has developed methods

of producing acrylic acid ester plastics from lactic acid obtained from

whey.

Another type of protein fiber is produced from zein, which is derived

from corn meal. The zein solution is extruded through spinnerets into

a coagulating bath containing an aldehyde such as formaldehyde to

harden the fiber.

Polymeric Amides Are the First Industrial Synthetic Protein-like

Materials.

Polymeric amides are derived from coal, air, and water and are characterized

by extreme toughness and strength. Nylon is the generic

name which the E. I. du Pont de Nemours Company coined for these

polymeric amides, which are the scientist's challenge to the silkworms

and the bristle-bearing hogs of the Orient.

The essential reaction is

NH2—R—

H

O

/ \

\ I

(A) H H—O (B)

HO OH HO O

-I- C—R—COOH —>-

I II II I I II II

NH2—R—N—C—R—C—N—R—N—C—R—C—OH + H2O, etc.

When any primary or secondary amine (such as A in the above

equation) unites with any dicarboxylic acid (such as B in the above

equation), nylon is formed. A typical example would be the polymer

formed from pentamethylene diamine and sebacic acid. The simplest

way to prepare a nylon would be by the interaction of molecules of an

amino acid. These protein-like materials are entirely new ; they are not

known to have any counterpart in nature.

The original discovery that led to the production of nylon was made

in connection with fundamental research on polymerization. After

two years' work in this research, one of the research chemists noted

that a long fiber was formed as he attempted to remove the product

from one of the stills.

Nylon is given its elastic properties by stretching it after it has

cooled. This stretching process causes the molecules to orient themselves

end to end, thus bringing the molecules so close together that

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