According to the University of Oregon, nylon is formed by gently pouring a solution of sebacoyl chloride in hexane on top of a basic aqueous solution of hexamethylenediamine. A film of nylon forms where the two solutions meet, which can be extracted and spun into threads.
The University of Oregon states that nylon is a catch-all term referring to any of several synthetic polyamides. The particular nylon formed in the above chemical reaction is 6-10 nylon, the most common form of nylon in use. The term 6-10 means that the carbon chains between the amide bonds alternate between six and ten carbons in length. According to Princeton University, nylon was the first successful synthetically produced polymer, developed at DuPont in 1935. Nylon is thermoplastic, which means it becomes malleable when heated and hardens into its new shape when cooled. Combined with its ability to be spun into strands and threads, nylon has a vast number of uses and applications. It was initially used as a replacement for silk in such materials as nylon stockings or nylon cloth parachutes, but it found applications in its solid form as well, being used to manufacture items such as screws, toothbrush bristles, tires, hair combs and much more.