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Introduction

Synthetic Fibre of Class 8

WALLACE CAROTHERS

The first artificial fiber (from plant cellulose) was made in 1910. The first fully synthetic fiber was nylon, was first produced by Wallace Carothers, who was working for Du Pont, on February 28th, 1935.

WALLACE CAROTHERS

Carothers’s work in linear super-polymers began as an unrestricted foray into the unknown, with no practical objective in mind. But the research was in a new field in chemistry and Du Pont believed that any new chemical breakthrough would likely be of value to the company. In the course of research Carothers obtained some super-polymers that became viscous solids at high temperatures, and the observation was made that filaments could be made from this material if a rod were dipped in the molten polymer and withdrawn. At this discovery the focus of the project shifted to these filaments and `Nylon` was the result.

Dr. Julian Hill, another member of the Carothers team, began work again on attempting to produce a polyester with a molecular weight of above 4,000. His efforts were soon met with great success when he produced a synthetic polymer with a molecular weight of about 12,000. The high molecular weight allowed the melted polymer to be stretched out into strings of fiber. Thus was created the first synthetic silk, described by the chemists as a super polyester.

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