noun[mass noun] Chemistry
A crystalline fatty acid obtained from natural fats and used especially in the manufacture of nylon.
- Alternative name: hexanedioic acid; chemical formula: HOOC(CH2)4COOH.
- The last step of adipic acid synthesis involves nitric acid oxidation, resulting in the formation of nitrous oxide as a byproduct.
- W. H. Carothers of E. I. DuPont de Nemours first produced nylon in 1931 from hexamethylenediamine and adipic acid, a six-carbon amine and a six-carbon acid.
- When adipic acid is manufactured from petroleum, huge amounts of ozone depleting nitrous oxide, N 2 O, are produced.
Mid 19th century: from Latin adeps, adip- 'fat' (because the acid was first prepared by oxidizing fats) + -ic.
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