Making Nylon


Amines contain a Nitrogen group surrounded by one two or three R groups and a lone pair. Low Mr amines are either gases or volatile liquids which smell like rotting flesh, many are soluble in water due to their lone pair of electrons. Also due to its lone pair it can act as a proton acceptor via dative covalent bonds resisting changes in PH.


Adding a number at the beginning for the number of carbons in the amine followed by amino- and the alkyl group (N-amino-alkane). If there’s two amine groups (condensation polymers) simply add another number at the beginning for both positions followed by diamino instead of amino.


Amides have a amine group attached to a carbon with an attached oxygen and an R-group. Amides can be primary secondary or tertiary depending on the amount of R-groups attached. If an acyl chloride is reacted with ammonia or an amine then a amide is made along with HCl in a condensation reaction.

Acyl Chloride

Acyl Chlorides can be used to produce amides when reacted with ammonia, they are useful in the laboratory as they can be used to make nylon at room temperature and pressure unlike the industrial method which is done under pressure and at 350 C. This method is also a lot faster than the industrial method but produces hydrochloric acid instead of the safe water produced in the industrial method.

Polyamides (Nylons)

When diamines and dicarboxylic acids react together using a (secondary) amide to group them together via condensation polymerisation a nylon is made.


A Nylon is named according to the number of carbon atoms on each side of the nylon chain, the first number represents the number of carbons on the diamine side of the chain and the second represents the number of carbons on the dicarboxylic acid side. e.g. nylon-5,10 would have 5 carbons on the diamine side and 10 carbons on the dicarboxylic acid side.