Nylon 6 is one of the most widely-used of all commercial nylons. It is a semi-crystalline polyamide. Unlike most other nylons, nylon 6 is not a condensation polymer, but instead is formed by ring-opening polymerization. It is highly valued for its strength, elasticity and durability. Other properties that make it a highly valued manufacturing medium include its capacity to withstand high pressure, temperatures, and chemicals such as acids, alkalines and solvents.
Nylon 6 is produced from polymerisation of caprolactam. Process steps involved in production of Nylon 6 involve the following steps
Caprolactam melting and addition of additives
Polymerisation: Batch/continuous and chips production
Chips washing and drying
Spinning of nylon
Caprolactam is polymerised to Nylon 6 polymer by ring opening polymerisation at 240-270 0C in presence of water, which opens the ring structure of the caprolactam to give amino caproic acid. Reacting SO2 with ammonium nitrite & ammonium carbonate which results in production of hydroxylamine disulphonate finally hydrolysis of hydroxylamine disulphonate at 95oC to yield hydroxylamine sulphate & ammonium sulphate as by-product.
Nylon 6 is a versatile synthetic material that can be formed into fibers, sheets, filaments or bristles. These are in turn be used in the production of fabric, yarn and cordage.
It is used extensively in the textile industry to produce non-woven fabrics. Fabric made from nylon 6 is colourful and light-weight yet strong and durable.
Nylon 6 offer very high puncture resistance, barrier resistance to oxygen, carbon dioxide and aromas, transparency, etc. All these properties make it ideal for use in food packaging (mono or multi-layer). It is a sanitary medium for clean, long-term packaging of food products. It is also an excellent substitute for aluminum and other metal films.
In the medical field, Nylon 6 is fabricated into tough, puncture-resistant packages for medical blister packs.