Nylon is made from polyamide fiber, derived from a diamine and a dicarboxylic acid that is formed into thin strands and woven into fabric. It is a synthetic fabric that utilizes the chemical by-products of coal, petroleum and agricultural products. Synthetic polymers give nylon fabrics a low absorbency rate ideal for swimwear, stockings and athletic clothing.
The DuPont company is responsible for creating the nylon that makes up nylon fabrics. It is the first entirely synthetic fabric. The popularity of nylon comes from the shortage of silk and other natural fabrics from Asian countries during World War II. Encouragement from the federal government led DuPont researchers to experiment with plastics. The result of their efforts is nylon. The versatile material remains popular for fabrics and fabric blends.
Nylon fabric is less expensive to produce than comparable fabrics. Nylon stockings make up the majority of the stocking industry, replacing more expensive silk stockings. The demand for affordable and low maintenance clothing creates new markets for nylon fabric each year.
Nylon fabric is very durable and resistant to heat and tears. It is popular for its versatility and low-maintenance properties. Nylon resists stains and maintains its shape after washing, reducing wrinkles and distortion. It also takes on dye better than other synthetic fabrics. The combined characteristics of nylon fibers make it ideal for fabric applications.