Polymers are giant molecules, or macromolecules. Proteins (silk, muscle fibers, enzymes), polysaccharides (starch and cellulose), rubber, and nucleic acids are natural polymers. On the other hand, polyester (in clothes and rugs) , vinyl (in chairs), Formica (in tabletops), polyacrylic and polypropylene (in rugs), nylon (in parachutes and pantyhose), latex (in paints), polyurethane (in protective coatings), melamine (in dishes), Teflon (in frying pan coatings, hairbrushes, toothbrushes, electrical insulators, heart valves, airplane windshields, etc.), are all examples of man-made polymers.
Polymers fall into three general classifications: elastomers, those polymers with elastic properties, like rubber; fibers, the threadlike polymers, such as cotton, silk, or nylon; and plastics, which can be thin sheets, hard moldable solids, or coatings.
Nylon, a polyamide, is formed in the reaction between a diamine and a diacid chloride.
Polyamides, as well as polyesters, are step-growth polymers because each bond in the polymer is formed independently of the others. By contrast, alkene and diene polymers are called chain-growth polymers because they are produced by chain reactions.
Solution A: 30 mL 0.5 M hexamethylenediamine
[H2N(CH2)6NH2 (1,6-diaminohexane) in 0.5 M NaOH]
Solution B: 1.0±0.2 mL sebacoyl chloride, ClCO(CH2)8COCl, in 30 mL hexane
[30 mL 0.2 M sebacoyl chloride in hexane]
250 mL beaker
150 mL beaker
Glass stir rod
Safety: Hexanes are very volatile. Do not use near heat source such as a hotplate. They may be irritating to the respiratory tract and, in high concentrations, narcotic. Inhalation of sebacoyl Chloride is destructive to the tissue of the mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract, eyes, and skin.
- Pour the Hexamethylenediamine solution into the 250 mL beaker.
- Pour the Sebacoyl Chloride solution into the 150 mL beaker. Do this quickly but carefully to minimize spilling.
- SLOWLY pour the Sebacoyl Chloride down the glass stir rod onto the Hexamethylenediamine. Careful do not let the stir rod touch the Hexamethylenediamine layer. Do not mix the two layers.
- Using forceps (or copper wire) gently grab the film of Nylon in between the two layers.
- Gently pull the nylon onto a glass stir rod.
Dispose in designated containers. Throw the dried nylon in the trash.