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Wallace Carothers

1896 - 1937

Wallace Carothers, 1896 - 1937, inventor of nylon

Wallace Carothers was an American chemist and pioneer in pure research into large-molecular weight polymers.

  • Nationality
  • American

  • Subject
  • Chemistry, organic

  • Fields
  • polymer synthetics

  • Posts
  • Head of organic pure research at Dupont Experimental Station, 1928 - 1937.

  • Equations
  • Carothers equation, relating the average degree of polymerization to the yield (fractional conversion) of monomer into polymer.

  • Experiments/Discoveries
  • Devlopment of superpolyesters, with molecular weights greater than 12000, allowing the molten polymer to be turned into fiber strings.

    Polyamides: substituting diamines for glycols in polyester resulted in polyamide, a more stable polymer with commercial potential.

    Nylon: polyamide 6-6, discovered from Carother's pioneering work on linear super-polymers.

    Neoprene: the first synthetic rubber, was discovered by Carothers and his DuPont team in 1930

Despite professional success, including the discoveries of neoprene, the world's first synthetic rubber, and nylon, Carothers suffered from depression, and committed suicide.






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