Polyamide Fibers (NYlon)


Nylon is a generic name for a family of synthetic polymers, more specifically, aliphatic or semi-aromatic polyamides in which at least 85% by weight of the amide-linkages (-CO-NH-) are attached directly to two aliphatic groups. They can be melt-processed into fibers, films or any other shape.

The first Nylon fiber was Nylon 6,6, produced in 1935 by Wallace Carothers at DuPont's research facility. The main fiber forming substance is any long chain synthetic polyamide having recurring amide groups in the polymer backbone. Nylon was originally not a generic name for polyamide but the brand name of DuPonts hexamethylene diamine – adipic acid condensation product, called Nylon 6,6. Another important polyamide fiber is Nylon 6 or polycaprolactam. This polymer was developed by Paul Schlack at IG Farben to reproduce Nylon 6,6 without violating DuPont's patent. Nylon 6 is made from caprolactam which self-polymerizes. Other important (specialty) nylons include Nylon 4, Nylon 11, and Nylon 6,10. These fibers are sold under numerous trade names.

Nylon fibers are exceptionally strong and elastic and stronger than polyester fibers. The fibers have excellent toughness, abrasion resistance, and are easy to wash, and to dye in a wide range of colors. The filament yarns provide a smooth, soft, and lightweight fabric of high resilience.


Nylon Fiber Properties

Tensile Strength (Tenacity) Excellent
Abrasion Resistance Excellent
Absorbency Fair
Static Resistance Fair - Poor
Heat Resistance Fair
Wrinkle Resistance Good - Excellent
Resistance to Sunlight Poor
Elasticity Excellent
Flame Resistance Does Not Burn
Resilience Excellent



Major manufacturers of Nylon fibers are Nylstar, Invista, Asahi-Kasei, BASF, Radici Group, and Universal Fibers.



Nylon is used in the garment and home furnishing industry. However, due to its higher price and lesser wrinkle resistance, it has been replaced by polyester in many garment products. Yet, it remains an important fiber for more demanding applications, including tire cords, ropes, seat belts, hoses, conveyer belts, carpets, parachutes, racket strings, sleeping bags, tents, and various civil engineering materials.

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