What Polymers Are in Clothes?

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Polymers that are in clothes include polyacrylonitrile, among others. Find out about the polymers that are in clothes with help from an experienced chemistry professional in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Chemistry & Biology Concepts
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Robin Higgins and this is what polymers are in clothes. Alright, so way back in the day we only had natural fibers. We made all of our clothes out of things like cotton and today a lot of our clothes are still made out of those natural fibers, but we've also added some polymers. Let's take a look at some popular ones that are in lots of clothes commonly. So this structure up here is called polyacrylonitrile and so the structure always has poly for polymers because it indicates that this little end is repeating and so you have this structure and you have it repeating over and over thousands of times and so polyacrylonitrile amongst other things is also used in sweaters, maybe the one I'm wearing right now, who knows. We'll you look at the tag but I didn't, so that's alright. Next is nylon. So this is common, we've all heard of it and it will have a long chemistry name too but nylon is its common name that we have shortened and so nylon has a signature in a group right here which means it's a carbonyl attached to a nitrogen and so this is actually the same signature functional group that's in a lot of, well it's in every protein. This is a big building block of natural materials, amides, alright and so nylons we know are in lots of things and they are specifically famous for being in stockings. Alright, and last but not least down here we have spandex. So spandex we all know is used in a lot of exercise clothes, it's very tight but it's light, it allows you to breathe, it allows old men to look gross when they go biking, lots of fun things and so this has a couple of amide groups we talked about before and it also has an aromatic segment and so this is actually its own big molecule that I didn't have room to draw that has lots of rings with aromaticity so like benzine. So yeah, so these three polymers are very common but there's lots of others in clothes. You can look them all up. They will all be on your labels and they do a great job of replacing some of those natural fibers. I'm Robin Higgins and this is what polymers are in clothes.


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