DuPont invented nylon in 1935 and used it to make artificial strands called monofilament. Monofilament is a single-stranded polymer fiber produced in large quantities for a variety of industries. It is made by dozens of manufacturers with many different types of polymers.
Nylon is a plastic polymer linked together by amide bonds. Because the line was not woven and consisted of only a single fiber, it was called monofilament. Nylon is also sometimes known as polyamide (PA). DuPont developed started commercial production of nylon in 1939 and started making many useful items out of nylon, including "nylons." Nylon became a household word during World War II and DuPont never bothered to trademark the name. Monofilament is also produced in bulk rolls and sold to various industries for use in making fabrics, vehicle tires, carpets and more. Monofilament was important because it bypassed the need for spinning or weaving natural fibers into yarn or thread.
Monofilament comes in many different diameters. The diameter is determined during manufacturing. The larger the diameter, the stronger the line. Monofilament is rated in "pounds test," which tells how much dead weight the line will support without breaking. Monofilament is wet-rot resistant and has a reasonably good knot strength. Monofilament can have more stretch than braided fishing lines, which can reduce the "feel" for the fish. Heavier monofilament can be stiff and hard to tie into good knots. Monofilament will degrade with excessive exposure to direct sunlight or heat.
Monofilament is now made with a variety of different polymers that give it different characteristics. Less-stiff monofilament is used for fly-fishing leaders. Smaller diameter but stronger monofilament makes excellent backing on deep-sea fishing reels. These lines allow more yardage with the same sized spool, and the lines have less resistance under water. Some polymers are more dense than nylon and can be used when a sinking line is desired. Fluorescent monofilament is easier to see and gives the fisherman more control over his bait or lure. Some types are only fluorescent above water, so the fish cannot see the line. Monofilament is also sometimes braided to produce a line with lower stretch. Typical freshwater fishermen use 8 lb. to 20 lb. test except for unusually large fish such as muskies, lake trout or sturgeon.
Monofilament fishing line is made by dozens of manufacturers across the world. New monofilaments are so strong and thin that care must be taken not to cut yourself on the line when casting. These "superlines" are created by braiding or fusing very thin and strong monofilament together. Fluorocarbon lines have lower stretch than nylon monofilament and are virtually invisible under water.
Fabrics and Products
Monofilaments are made from a variety of polymers for different purposes. DuPont's Kevlar, for instance, is an extremely tough aramid fiber that can be woven into yarns and fabrics for virtually any use. Kevlar is used to make vehicle tires more puncture-resistant and can also be woven into fabrics that are bullet-proof.
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