7+ Different Types of Nylon (Uses and Properties)

Nylon is not new. It was one of the first plastics that was produced and the initial production of this material was somewhere in the 1930s, give or take a few years. Over the past 90 years, it has found its way into almost every industry going today.

There are many different types of nylon you can buy but not all are good for clothing projects. So far we have found nylon 6, 6/6, 6/9, 6/10, 6/12, nylon 11, nylon 12, and nylon 46. How many more will depend on who is making this material.

To learn more about nylon types and their uses just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about nylon and that nylon 6 and 66 are the most common types you can find. They may even be interchangeable as they have similar properties.

How Many Types of Nylon Are There?


There are at least 7 different types of nylon. We actually list 8 but there may be even more as technology allows manufacturers to upgrade and change the chemical compounds that makeup nylon materials.

There are nylon options that come in different colors so you can choose one that is the most attractive to you if the nylon material fits what you are doing. Sometimes the chemical name is used for identifying different nylon varieties.

PA are the letters and then the numbers following those letter lets you know that the nylon is either made from a single monomer or multiple monomers. The nylon material you will encounter the most will be nylon 6 and 66 as these options are used in textiles and in meeting packaging needs.

What makes nylon so popular is that it has properties that make it stronger than some metals. It is often a material selected to make replacement parts in machinery. Those types of nylon you may not see unless you are working in the industries that use the non-textile version.

How Many Different Types of Nylon Are Available to Consumers?

The number can be realistically placed at 2, Nylon 6 and 66 are the two types you will find in most consumer-driven products. The term ‘consumer’ is quite broad and will not limit the topic of this section to only those people who buy clothing.

It is hard to put an exact number of how many types of nylon are available to consumers because the material has entered almost every industry in existence today. Nylon is used in camping via tents, ropes, and backpack construction.

Then it is found in food-grade containers, parachutes, nets, and thread for sewing. This material is also used in furniture as well as the electronic industry whose individual components are available to the consumer when they need replacement parts.

There are different grades of nylon which contributes to the difficulty of numbering the different types of nylon used by consumers. There is some indirect availability, for example, the car industry. Many parts of the car, including the seat belts, are made from nylon materials.

What Are The Different Types of Nylon?


Nylon 6 and nylon 66 or 6/6 or 6,6 dominate the industry. they have the most possible applications. Since their properties are very similar, they are often used interchangeably.

Then nylon 6 can come in different grades like cast nylon 6, mid-filled cast nylon 6, and oil-filled cast nylon 6. Nylon 66 can be found also in the grade extrude D nylon 6/6.

Other types do not have a wide application 510, 6/9, 6/10, 6/12, nylon 11, nylon 12, and nylon 46 are other versions with limited applications. There industrial uses for these versions and they are not as well known as the main two options.

They all have different properties with some absorbing water too easily while others do not absorb that much moisture. One of the problems with each of the types of nylon is that there may be some off-gassing that can be harmful to your health, the material may shrink on you and it is highly flammable.

Even though it is highly flammable nylon types do have a high melting point so the products made from this material may last a long time.

What Is The Most Common Type of Nylon?

The two nylon types you will run into are nylon 6 and 66 or one of its name variations. These types of nylon are in just about every industry as they have top properties that make them better than natural fibers or even some metals.

One advantage to these two types is that they are very light materials. They are probably the lightest of all the thermoplastics you can buy. Both are very strong and have high tensile strength which means that they take a long time to wear out and can resist abrasions.

Then the two types resist gathering dust and dirt while being impervious to rust. The materials are easy to work with and you can get them in complex designs. When the materials are used in the electronic industry they have to pass the GWIT, UL94 test to be considered good enough for the tasks they were designed to do.

When used for food-grade containers, these two nylon types must pass resistance to oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other gasses tests. What this means is that the materials are thoroughly tested for all their applications and they must meet certain standards before sent out to the consumer to purchase.

Nylon Types and Uses


We have mentioned some of the many types of nylon and the following set are a few that are used in everyday life-- Nylon-6, Nylon-6,6, Nylon-6,10, Nylon-6,12, Nylon-11, Nylon-12, and Nylon MXD6.

The last one is the newest member of the list of types of nylon. As for their individual uses, those are usually listed generically so it is often hard to find those products each one is a part of. Here is another generic list that covers a wide array of daily use products.

All of these types are found in one, several, or almost all of the following products: gears, electronic connectors, slides, cams, bearings, cable ties, film packaging, fluid reservoirs (for cars and other industries), fishing line, brush bristles, car oil pans, And recreational equipment.

Then for the sewing world, you will find these nylon types in thread, fabrics, sportswear, and carpeting. Sports equipment is made from different nylon types as well.

You will find that nylon is becoming or has become a universal material and has more variations to it than say cotton fibers.

Nylon Types Properties

This material has a lot of positive properties. That is one main reason the material is so popular. It is easy to work with and processing, cutting, and machining can go very smoothly.

The biggest and most obvious property is its strength. No matter which type of nylon you buy, it is a strong material that can be stronger than some metals. Then because it is elastic, it can be formed or shaped into almost any design you want.

When made into fabrics it can easily be washed but be careful of the water and dryer temperatures. You do not want to get those too hot. This material can dry very quickly without losing its shape.

Then depending on the type of nylon it may or may not absorb a lot of water. Nylon 12 does while nylon 6 does not. There is a lustrous look to the material and those good looks do not make it vulnerable to oil and other chemical stains.

Nylon Yarn Types


When you go shopping for yarn, you will find that the fibers making up nylon fabrics are often blended with other materials. This material was originally created to replace silk and it has in parachutes and flak vests.

It is often blended with wool to give those fibers more strength and a little bit of stretch. The material is also combined with acrylic, linen, cotton, and alpaca wool for many of the same reasons.

When it comes to carpeting both nylon 6 and 66 are used to create nylon carpets. That makes those rugs strong, durable, and easy to clean. All three elements are preferred when you need a carpet in a high-traffic area.

Nylon 6 is used more in industrial yarn applications including cords, heavy-duty fabrics, toothbrush fibers. and so on. Nylon 66 is sought after for those clothing items that are placed into situations that may rip or tear them. This yarn is highly abrasion-resistant.

Both nylon types are the main ingredients in yarn. That is due to their toughness and strength.

Ripstop Nylon Types

This material is highly sought after for specific applications like hot air balloon materials or sleeping bags. That is because it is a very tough lightweight material that resists abrasions and other fabric ills that come with those two applications.

Most likely it is Cordura Nylon that is turned into ripstop nylon because it is stronger than nylon 66 even though the former is based on the latter. But it is hard to say as other materials are blended in with the nylon to make it stronger.

Those materials include-- cotton, silk, polyester, or polypropylene-- and usually, nylon 6 or 66 are the go-to types for this type of material. What makes this rip-stop material so strong is the cross-hatching of other threads. Nylon in and of itself is not strong enough to stop tears without this weave design.

The cross-hatching can be done with other nylon thread types to make sure the other nylon fibers are well reinforced

What is Type 6 Nylon?


This may be one of the simplest nylon fibers to make. It consists of a single monomer that is combined with itself. While this formula is simple, it makes a very strong nylon fabric that is used in those applications needing to hold lots of weight.

In contrast and to give you an idea of the differences between this version of nylon and the others, nylon66 is made from multiple monomers combined with its molecules.

But these two variations are not as stiff nor suited for high-performance applications like PPA and PA46, two other nylon types that you may or may not have heard about. Then nylon 6 is different from PA11 nylon which is made by extracting different molecules found in castor oil or castor oil chemistry processes.

This version of nylon has more industrial uses as it has lower water absorption than other nylon varieties.

What is The Difference Between Nylon 6 and Nylon 66?

To make it easier to see the differences between these two fabrics we have constructed a simple comparison chart. That way you can scan the different elements and see their unique structure at a glance.

Nylon 6 Nylon 66, 6.6, 6/6, 6,6
Made from 1 monomer with 6 carbon atoms Made from at least 2 monomers with 6 carbon atoms each
Very tough and can handle heat Very tough and can handle heat
Insulation qualities Not so good at insulation applications
Melting point is 223 C or over 450 degrees F melting point 255 C or over 500 degrees F
made into packaging and textiles used to replace metals
absorbs a lot of water absorbs little water
not good at short term heat resistance very good at short term heat resistance
does not resist acids that well resists acids
not as stiff as 6.6. can be very stiff

Some Final Words

There are many different types of nylon and as technology continues to provide new ways to upgrade the material, that number may continue to rise. The type of nylon you need depends on the type of project you are working on.

Each type has its own applications and own special properties that make it ideal for specific purposes.

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