Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from A-E

Carothers, Wallace Hume

molecular fibre mass acid

(1896–1937) US industrial chemist: discovered fibre-forming polyamides (nylons).

The son of a teacher, Carothers graduated from a small college and later both studied and taught chemistry at three universities before moving in 1928 to the research department of the Du Pont Company at Wilmington, DE. His object was ‘to synthesize compounds of high molecular mass and known constitution’; an early success was Neoprene, the first successful synthetic rubber, marketed from 1932. He then studied the linear polymers made by condensing a dibasic acid with a diamine. By heating adipic acid with hexamethylenediamine at 270° he obtained Nylon 6.6, which can be melt-spun into fibres whose strength is improved by cold-drawing:

This polyamide has a relative molecular mass of 10–15 × 10 3 , with useful properties as a textile fibre, and has had much commercial success. Carothers established useful principles in research on polymers. He had a history of alcoholism and depression, and soon after his marriage he killed himself.

Carpenter, John Alden [next] [back] Carolee

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or