You are here:Home1/Advices2/What is nylon: history of success and progress3
What is nylon: history of success and progress
The world is known to be composed of spirit and matter. The spirit moves the senses, matter takes possession of it. This is perhaps the most current definition we can give to the concept of existence. From the moment the first particle of matter entered the known universe, what was only potential became reality and life began. And with it, an infinite transformation that led that first particle to evolve into what we represent today as human beings. A metamorphosis that continues today and does not only concern our bodies but also everything around us. In this sense, once again, the world of clothing is the one that has undergone the most intense transformation. We went from wearing opaque leaves to animal leather, in order to protect and repair ourselves. So, accumulating experience and skill, we have managed to develop ever new fabrics made from animal and vegetable fibers such as wool, linen, cotton, silk, hemp and ramie. But it’ss with the art of alchemy, considered here as chemical manipulation, that man takes full possession of the world around, through the scientific analysis of matter and its transformations. And this is a fundamental step in the world of fashion, as it leads to the birth of plastic materials and nylon in particular, today used above all as a textile fiber, but also in the production of numerous products.
But what is nylon? Unfortunately in recent times, this material and plastics more generally, have been surrounded by a negative aura due to the environmental problems connected with creation and disposal processes. However, if wood is the most versatile natural material in the world, nylon has become the most useful synthetic material over time. With many properties, nylon is a polymer, that is, a substance composed of many identical molecules, which are repeated continuously. Unlike traditional materials such as wood, iron, wool and cotton, nylon does not exist in nature but it is necessary to create it through chemical processes that act on organic substances (based on carbon) that are found in natural materials such as coal or oil. In a first phase the polymer is generated, a crystallized substance which is heated making it more fluid and then extruded through a die. At this point the nylon hardens and the resulting fibers are ready to be loaded onto the spools to increase strength and elasticity. The last step is therefore to spin the fibers to obtain the desired fabric, useful for the production of clothing or other. A fabric that in many cases is developed in combination with other materials to make it more suitable for the specific application area. This procedure makes nylon a synthetic fabric, which differs from natural fabrics in that it does not come from plant or animal resources, usually spun without the use of complex chemical processes.
If many people know nylon, not everyone knows the name of Wallace Carothers, the ingenious and enigmatic inventor of this material who unfortunately, plagued by alcoholism and depression, found life unbearable and committed suicide in a hotel in Philadelphia in 1937. The year after his death, DuPont registered the patent and launched nylon worldwide, originally marketed as an alternative to silk socks. A slogan from 1940 defined nylon as a fiber “robust as steel, thin as a spider web, yet more elastic than all common natural fibers”. It was also for this reason that during Second World War it took the place of hemp in the production of parachutes and at the end of the conflict, due to the lack of traditional materials such as cotton and silk, it became one of the most used fabrics, first in the production of clothing and later for industrial and scientific purposes.
An urban legend, which would testify the strong American competitive spirit, wants nylon to be nothing more than an acronym for Now You Lose Old Nippon. This is because following the events of Second World War, Japan prevented the import of silk from China which was used by the United States to weave the soldiers’ parachutes. Consequently, the United States engineered and created this new replacement material by giving it precisely this acronym.
Nylon has several advantages, including wear and tensile strength, light weight and resistance to chemicals. It is crease-proof and non-deformable, elastic and easy to maintain. It is no coincidence that today it is widely used, even together with elastane, in the production of technical clothing. In addition, although in recent years, as already mentioned, its use has been seen as harmful to the environment, there are many projects that have brought to a revisiting of this fabric. Econyl for example, is a type of nylon regenerated in a completely ecological way, recovering abandoned fishing nets in the seas all over the world and textile production waste. The fabric deriving from this fiber allows us at CasaGIN to create a wide range of eco-sustainable swimwear and sportswear, characterized by a perfect fit and breathability, soft and elastic; and also Oeko-Tex standard 100 certified: free of harmful substances and skin friendly. But there’s more: in 2015 scientific research led to the birth of a new fabric called Amni Soul Eco: it is the first polyamide yarn (a particular type of nylon) completely biodegradable in just 3 years and also Oeko-Tex certified . A significant step towards environmental protection and also a response to the needs of increasingly attentive consumers. But above all, a novelty that will soon become part of the CasaGIN offer through highly performing sports clothing. Stay tuned …