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An amide, or an acid amide, is a compound with the functional group -C(=O)N(R1R2). Cyclic amides are called lactams. Lactam compounds would be either secondary or tertiary amides. Lactams, depending on the ring size, bear the name alpha-lactam (3 ring atoms), beta-lactam (4 ring atoms), gamma-lactam (5 ring atoms), delta-lactam (6 ring atoms) or epsilon-lactam (7 ring atoms). The beta-lactam ring is part of the core structure of several antibiotic families, for example, penicillins, cephalosporins, carbapenems, and monobactams. Amides undergo various chemical reactions usually through an attack on the carbonyl group. There are many renowned organic reactions which involve amides, including, the Hofmann rearrangement and the Vilsmeier-Haack reaction.
Amides are commonly formed via the reactions of a carboxylic acid with an amine. Other well known reactions for the preparation of amide compounds include the Chapman rearrangement, the Bodroux reaction and the Schmidt reaction. Beckmann rearrangement is an acid-catalyzed rearrangement of an oxime to an amide. Many cyclic amides are prepared using this rearrangement. Following the rearrangement, cyclohexanone produces caprolactam which is the feedstock in the production of Nylon 6.
Amides have wide range of applications. Some of the notable amides are Nylon, Aramid and Kevlar. Nylon is polymer of amide; it is used in the manufacture of a large variety of threads, ropes, filaments, nets, and tire cords. Nylon is also used as thermoplastic. Aramid fibers are used as heat-resistant and strong synthetic fibers. Kevlar is used in the manufacture of bicycle tires and racing tires. It is also used to make modern drumheads that withstand high impact.