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AIM Processing Small Plastic Parts Blog

What You Need to Know About Nylon

[fa icon="calendar"] Mar 14, 2017 10:50:22 AM / by Jon Gelston


Nylon is a synthetic thermoplastic first produced in 1935 and introduced as a fabric during the 1939 New York World's Fair. You will also see Nylon referred to by its chemical designation “PA.” It is commonly available in black, white, and off-white or beige, which is its natural color. Nylon can be produced as fibers, filaments, sheet stock, and films, and also as the raw material for injection molding.

Nylon was created by Wallace Carothers, a research chemist employed by DuPont. His innovation is officially known as Nylon 66, and it remains one of the most commonly used forms of Nylon today. However, other forms with different repeating monomer groups can offer enhanced properties.

Nylon’s Many Uses

Nylon is used in a wide variety of applications in injection molding. They include:

  • Automotive components
  • Gears, plastic bearings, and bushings
  • Impact points on furniture
  • Sporting goods

Nylon is especially useful in components that are exposed to a variety of chemicals. Moreover, it works well in parts that need to maintain strength and endure a great deal of wear.

Nylon’s Impressive Properties

Nylon has a number of properties that make it popular in plastic injection molding. For example, it is:

  • Very strong
  • Resistant to many chemicals and easily cleaned
  • Elastic and durable
  • Heat resistant (a very high melting point of 220 degrees Celsius, though it is flammable when exposed to open flame)
  • Low friction and abrasion resistant

Nylon can even be used in place of low strength metals, which can make it a great candidate for metal replacement. In many cases, glass fibers are added to improve tensile and flexural strength. Other additives can improve material properties such as flamability, impact strength, and electrical resistance. Nylon's strength can also be improved through a process called “conditioning”, where moisture is reintroduced into the plastic after molding to improve pliability and strength.

Nylon has a relatively low impact strength compared to other materials, which can limit its usefulness without impact modifiers. It is also a relatively high-shrink material, approximately 0.014" - 0.023" per inch, so changing between other materials can be difficult.

Sharing Two Decades of Expertise as a Leading Denver Area Injection Molder

Ultimately, you want to be sure you understand the properties of the particular Nylon variant you intend to use in a project. If you’ve got questions about creating small plastic parts with Nylon, we’re happy to provide our thoughts. We have extensive experience working with this very versatile material. 

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Topics: Plastic Types

Jon Gelston

Written by Jon Gelston