Science: Unscrambling Nylon

A process to make new nylon out of old was announced last month by Du Pont. This challenge to the wartime nylon shortage, with drives for old nylon, should mean that many of the 200 million pairs of nylon hose made during the past three years will be converted into parachute cloth, tapes and harness, glider tow ropes, other military goods.

In the Du Pont process old nylon is put into a hot solution. The nylon (a synthetic chemical made from adipic acid and a base related to ammonia called hexamethylene-diamine) dissolves like sugar in hot tea. On cooling, the adipic acid...

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