Caprolactam (CPL) is an organic compound with the formula (CH2)5C(O)NH. This colourless solid is a lactam (a cyclic amide) of caproic acid. Approximately 4.5 billion kilograms are produced annually. Caprolactam is the precursor to Nylon 6, a widely used synthetic polymer.
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Almost all caprolactam produced goes into the manufacture of Nylon-6. The conversion entails a ring-opening polymerization:n (CH2)5C(O)NH → [(CH2)5C(O)NH]n