Material of the month: Nylon

THE MANY FORMS OF NYLON

Nylon has come a long way since the bristles of the mid-1930’s toothbrush, silk stockings and the first parachutes.  In 1942, daredevil parachutist Adeline Gray, aged just 24, jumped out of a plane with a nylon parachute, rather than the more familiar silk or cotton, making herself a household name as the first person to test nylon.

Also known as polyamides (PA), nylons vary massively in grade and price.  Deciding on which grade suits the individual application boils down to discussing and assessing each individual project, application, regulatory requirements and environment.

PROS

·    Vast range available:  This means that nylon suits many applications.

·   Chemical resistance: Because of nylon’s resistance to grease and oils and its capacity to withstand general wear and abrasion, we use it for many of the automotive filters that we plastic injection mould.

·   Rigidity:  Kettle and tumble dryer filters, as well as many of the filters you and I use day to day have plastic injection moulded frames made from nylon.

·   Strength and flexibility: There are a variety of strengths available so some grades offer fantastic strength and flexibility.  Think cable ties.

·       Die-cast alternative: Glass-loaded nylon can be used as an alternative to traditional die casting as it is cheaper and lighter.

CONS

·    Low impact strength (some grades).

·    Susceptible to UV degradation (additives & colours can help).

·    Hydroscopic, Moisture (or lack of) can affect size and mechanical properties.

With over 40 years’ experience we can offer customers advice on what types of materials have worked well on projects in the past and can suggest materials which adhere to certain properties, legislation and drawings etc, tapping into our network of well-established and trusted suppliers to source the correct material and confirm with data sheets.

Paul, who heads up our design and innovation explains, “ultimately it’s up to us ask the right questions at the outset and find out what the client needs, where the product is going and what legislation requirements we must adhere to, then we can set to work finding out which material and if it’s nylon, which grade of nylon is the one to use.

As an example, we have used Nylon 12 for under the bonnet automotive fuel filter moulding as part of a fuel system because it’s well suited to that environment.  We are particularly proud to have applied our filter encapsulation and material expertise to help the automotive industry ensure modern diesel engines significantly reduce their diesel emissions and therefore meet required emission standards.

However, this particular grade may not be suitable for everyone as it’s relatively expensive with some jobs requiring a more economical grade i.e. Nylon 6.”

Did you know?

The flags left on the moon, by the Apollo astronauts, were made of Nylon.

If you think nylon might be the right material for your new product, filter or innovation but you’re unsure which grade to choose, do get in touch, we’re happy to help.  Simply call 01425 613131 or email hello@becgroup.com  – we love talking nylons!