As an engineered material, polyamide plastic, also known as nylon, has been a favored choice for plastic injection molding since the material’s 1935 invention. That material, Nylon 66, remains in wide use 80-plus years later and is considered the workhorse of nylon plastic injection molding. Today, the ability to modify nylon plastic by combining a variety of additives with unfilled nylon (neat nylon) can produce different variants with significantly different material properties.
For example, injection molding glass-filled nylon, produced by adding glass fibers to polyamide plastic, increases tensile strength and makes the engineered material less flexible and more rigid. Other popular additives can combine with nylon for greater strength, durability and appropriate levels of flexibility to produce toughened grades, conductive grades and high-temperature grades of polyamide plastic.
Polyamide plastic is available in many different variations, all having different characteristics. Some common examples are Nylon 6, Nylon 4/6, Nylon 6/6, Nylon 6/12, Nylon 10, Nylon 11 and Nylon 12. It can be loaded with glass and minerals for tensile strength, impact modifiers for toughness, flame retardants, UV stabilizers and other modifiers to enhance its properties. It can even be made clear for better chemical resistance than polycarbonate.
Like other thermoplastics, nylon plastic becomes liquid at its melting point. It can be heated to this point, cooled and reheated without significant degradation. This allows the material to be easily injection molded and then recycled.
One of the most-used materials in plastic injection molding, nylon’s exceptional strength and ability to be modified by combining a variety of additives make it an ideal substitute for metals. It is commonly used in reducing weight in transportation, resulting in better fuel economy. Other features of this popular nylon plastic injection molding thermoplastic include polyamide plastic’s:
Nylon plastic is found in almost every industry including the medical, mining and consumer goods industries. The ability to customize the material to feature the properties most desirable for a particular application make polyamide plastic well-suited for:
Nylon’s availability in a wide range of modified formulas makes this thermoplastic a choice for many polyamide injection molding applications. Understanding the choices, benefits, costs and risks of each is critical to selecting the best material for each application.