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Wallace H.Carothers.a brilliant organic chemist who was

principally responsible for the development of nylon

and the first synthetic rubber (Neoprene),was born in 1896

in Burlington,lowa.As a youth,Carothers was fascinated

by tools and mechanical devices and spent many hours

experimenting.In 1915 he entered Tarkio College in Missouri.

Carothers so excelled in chemistry that even before his graduation,

he was made a chemistry instructor.

Carothers eventually moved to the University of Illinois

at Urbana-Champaign,where he was appointed to the faculty

when he completed his Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1924.

He moved to Harvard University in 1926,and then to DuPont

in 1928 to participate in a new program in fundamental research .

At DuPont,Carothers headed the organic chemistry

division,and during his ten years there played a prominent

role in laying the foundations of polymer chemisty.

By the age of 33,Carothers had become a world-famous

chemist whose advice was sought by almost everyone working

in polymers.He was the first industrial chemist to be

elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.

Carothers was an avid reader of poetry and a lover of

classical music.Unfortunately, he also suffered from severe

bouts of depression that finally led to his suicide in 1937 in

a Philadelphia hotel room, where he drank a cyanide solution.

He was 41 years old. Despite the brevity of his career,

Carothers was truly one of the finest American chemists of

all time. His great intellect, his love of chemistry. and his

insistence on perfection produced his special genius.

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    這位科學家非常有名,1928年,杜邦(DuPont)公司雇傭了化學家華萊士·胡姆·卡羅瑟斯(Wallace Hume Carothers)在專門用於基礎研究的新實驗室中構造新的聚合物。為了驗證施陶丁格爾的仍然存在爭議的理論,卡羅瑟斯小心地在長鏈中加入了一些小的有機成分,並檢測生成物的特性。他發現所收集的超長鏈分子產生了更加堅硬、更加堅固並且更加粘稠的物質。到1930年,卡羅瑟斯的系統合成試驗由於生產出了新的級別的聚合物,也就是聚酰胺,也就是眾所周知的“尼龍”從而變得碩果纍纍起來。這些聚合物可以被軟化並被抽成強度非常高的纖維。

    網路資料很多,以下僅截錄幾則---

    Two of the twentieth century's most widely used synthetic polymerseoprene and nylonriginated in 1930 in the research laboratory of Wallace Hume Carothers (1896?937) at the DuPont Company.

    After high school Carothers attended Capital City Commercial College in Des Moines, Iowa, in a program of accountancy and secretarial administration. He then went on to a four-year college, Tarkio College in Missouri, to complete a bachelor's degree in chemistry. After a year of teaching at the University of South Dakota, he proceeded to the University of Illinois, where he earned his doctorate in 1924. As a young instructor at Harvard University, Carothers was already pursuing research in polymers when DuPont's Charles Stine recruited him for the fundamental research program that Stine was then organizing. Elmer K. Bolton, Carothers's immediate boss, asked him to investigate the chemistry of an acetylene polymer that might lead to a synthetic rubber. In April 1930 one of Carothers's assistants, Arnold M. Collins, isolated a new liquid compound, chloroprene, which spontaneously polymerized to produce a rubberlike solid. The new polymer was similar chemically to natural rubber, which encouraged Bolton to exploit it. Neoprene, as the product was named, was superior to the natural product in some applications and became the first commercially successful, though never inexpensive, specialty rubber.

    Soon after this discovery another Carothers associate, Julian W. Hill, created a strong, elastic synthetic fiber while trying to produce superpolymers of high molecular weight by reacting glycols and dibasic acids with strong acids under reduced pressure in a molecular still. The resultant early polyesters, however, were problematic: They had such low melting points and high solubility in dry cleaning solvents that they were not commercially viable. After a few attempts to solve these problems, Carothers discontinued this line of research. But Bolton encouraged him not to give up on the wider field of fibers. When Carothers finally renewed work in that area in early 1934, he and his team used amines rather than glycols to produce polyamides rather than polyesters. Polyamides are synthetic proteins and are more stable than polyesters, which are structurally similar to natural fats and oils.

    Carothers's group soon discovered an outstanding polyamide fiber. Bolton played a key role in the development of the discovery, later named "nylon." In the years that followed, Carothers's scientific creativity was crippled by worsening bouts of depression that finally prompted his suicide in April 1937, just when the true magnitude of the discovery of nylon was becoming apparent. By this time Bolton had decided to commercialize nylon by creating an alternative product to the lucrative silk stocking market, leaving other applications for later. Nylon went into production in 1939, and the display of the new stockings was a sensation at the World's Fair in New York that year. With the onset of World War II, nylon was commandeered for war purposesor example, to make parachute canopies. Once the war was over, sales to civilian consumers skyrocketed.

    Making Nylon 6 and 6,10 - a laboratory activity from the Polymer Science Learning Center at the University of Southern Mississippi.

    The Nylon Drama - the story of nylon's invention from noted historians David A. Hounshell and John Kenly Smith, Jr.

    Nylon is Invented - part of A Science Odyssey from WGBH Boston.

    Spinning the Elements: Wallace Carothers nad the Nylon Legacy - an online exhibit on nylon and its inventor, from the Chemical Heritage Foundation

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    Wallace H. Carothers

    Kelly StewartApril 22, 2004

    AbstractThis report will explain who Wallace Carothers was and how he impacted theworld. He graduated from Tarkio in 1920 and went on to get his Master’s degreethe next year at the University of Illinois. Carothers soon realized he enjoyedresearch more than teaching and got an offer to work at the DuPont chemicalcompany. In 1936, he married Helen Sweetman and had a daughter; unfortunately,Carothers didn’t get to meet her. In 1931, located in Philadelphia, Carothers created a synthetic rubber with thehelp from Dr. F.B. Downing and Ira Williams. Carothers was able to take polymersinto his lab to create important products like plastics, synthetic fibers and syntheticrubber. Carothers contributed to the first major product to come from DuPontcalled neoprene.He also combined the chemicals amine, hexamethylene diamine,and adipic acid, which led to a very weak fiber that would soon be referred to asnylon. Nylon was introduced in 1938 by Dupont and became the most commonlyknown polymers used in fiber.After Carothers passed away, the Delaware Section of the American ChemicalSociety developed the Carothers Lecture Award in memory of Carothers. Thesculpture represents a man shaping molecules. Although his life ended tragically, helived a very productive life.Introduction and Purpose“Chemist commits suicide,” read the New York Times on April 30, 1937. Policefound Wallace H. Carothers in a hotel room surrounded by crystalline poison and asqueezed lemon. They believe he drank the poison with lemon juice. This reportwill explain who Wallace Carothers was and how he impacted the world. Manypeople relate Wallace Carothers to his suicide at the age of 41. Although he sufferedfrom manic-depression he held more than 50 patents and managed to become one ofthe greatest chemists of all time.(2)FindingsGeneral History

    Born on April 27, 1896 in Burlington, Iowa, Wallace Carothers was the oldest offour children. He studied science at Tarkio Collage in Missouri. He even became achemistry teacher before his graduation because there was a shortage of teachersduring World War I. He graduated from Tarkio in 1920 and went on to get hisMaster’s degree the next year at the University of Illinois. In 1924, he received hisPh.D. and started teaching chemistry at Harvard. At Harvard he started to experiment with chemical structures of polymers,synthetic substances, with high molecular weight (Farber). Carothers soon realizedhe enjoyed research more than teaching and got an offer to work at the DuPontchemical company. It was an offer Carothers couldn’t refuse. His reputation forbeing an innovative chemist grew while working for DuPont and although shy, hewrote papers and gave speeches on general theories about polymers and“regularizing the terminology of the field.” He was the first organic chemist electedto the National Academy of Science (A Science Odyssey). In 1936, he married Helen Sweetman and had a daughter; unfortunately,Carothers didn’t get to meet her. In early 1937, Carothers’ favorite sister diedsuddenly which added to his manic-depression. He never fully recovered from theloss and committed suicide before his daughter was born.(3)History at DuPontDuPont makes scientific discoveries. In 1928, The Company’s goal was to use basicresearch with possible industrial applications in the field of artificial materials (AScience Odyssey). In 1931, in Philadelphia, Carothers created a synthetic rubberwith the help of Dr. F.B. Downing and Ira Williams. They used coal tar, limestone,salt and water to create a synthetic rubber called Neoprene. DuPont then turned itsefforts to creating a solution to replace silk. During this time there were politicaland trade troubles with Japan. It was becoming harder and more expensive to getfibers that made silk (Marco). DuPont wanted to create a synthetic fiber that couldreplace it. In 1934, Carothers lab was successful. “Carothers pulled the first long,strong, flexible strand of synthetic polymer fiber out of a test tube” (A ScienceOdyssey). Carothers named it nylon. During the ten years Carothers worked forDuPont he not only invented neoprene and nylon, he also created an understandingfor natural polymers and how they are formed.Polymers

    The word polymers come from the Greek word polumeres, which means, “havingmany parts” (Marco). They are usually joined together in a line, like beads on astring. “Polymers are any class of natural or synthetic substances composed of verylarge molecules, called macromolecules that are multiples of simpler chemical unitscalled (4) monomers” (Marco). Polymers make up materials in living organismsthat include cellulose, nucleic acids, natural rubber and silk. Carothers was able totake polymers into his lab to create important products like plastics, synthetic fibersand synthetic rubber.Synthetic rubber: NeopreneCarothers contributed to the first major product to come from DuPont calledneoprene. “Neoprene is the trade name for a family of synthetic rubbers based onpolychloroprene” (Neoprene). “It is made with a colorless gas called acetylenewhich is molecules containing one or more pairs of carbon atoms linked by triplebonds” (Marco). Contact with air creates an explosive; it is stored dissolved underpressure. “More resistant to water, oils, heat, and solvents than natural rubber.

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