Soluble nylon

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A modified nylon developed by DuPont and ICI about 1940. Soluble nylon is Nylon resin that has been treated with Formaldehyde to produce an unstable alkoxy substituted material. One commercial product, Calaton (n-methoxymethyl nylon), is prepared from Nylon 6,6. The freshly prepared alkoxy substituted nylon is soluble in alcohols. However, when it is painted as a film, soluble nylon can hydrolyze, especially in the presence of acids, to produce a stiff, insoluble film. Soluble nylon was used in the mid-20th century as an adhesive, coating, and sizing agent to add strength to wet paper and consolidate friable pigments. It is not recommended for any type of current conservation use.

Synonyms and Related Terms

nailon soluble (Esp.);

Examples: Calaton [ICI, Britain]; Maranyl [ICI]; Ultramid [BASF]; Elvamide [DuPont]


  • Hazardous to all artifacts.
  • Becomes insoluble with age.
  • Attracts dirt and shrinks with time.

Physical and Chemical Properties

Initially soluble in methanol and ethanol.


Physical Properties for Selected Thermoset Resins

General Characteristics of Polymers

Resources and Citations

  • C.Sease "The Case Against Using Soluble Nylon in Conservation Work" Studies in Conservation, 26:102-110, 1981.
  • E.De Witte "Soluble Nylon as Consolidation Agent for Stone" Studies in Conservation, 20:30-34, 1975.
  • Hermann Kuhn, Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art and Antiquities, Butterworths, London, 1986
  • Pam Hatchfield, Pollutants in the Museum Environment, Archetype Press, London, 2002
  • Ceramics and Glass Conservation Section, List of Workshop Materials, The British Museum, London
  • Meredith Montague, contributed information, 1998