What is Nylon Fabric?
Have you seen the words “nylon fabric” in activewear but are not sure what it is? Well, we did a little research for you! Nylon is known as one of the most useful synthetic fibers in the world. It’s a plastic that is found in everyday products but is also spun into fibers for creating fabrics. When it launched in the 1930s, it truly changed the world. Today, you can pretty much live your entire life with nylon by your side. You may be unknowingly walking across your nylon carpet or cleaning your teeth with a nylon toothbrush. You may even use a nylon umbrella when it rains, or you might wear a quick-drying nylon swimsuit in the summer. Those are just a few of the things you may come across with nylon in them.
HOW IS NYLON MADE?
Nylon is a polymer, meaning it is a plastic that has a molecular structure of a large number of similar units bonded together. An analogy would be that it is just like a metal chain, which is made of repeating links. Nylon is a whole family of very similar types of materials called polyamides.
One reason there’s a family of nylons is that DuPont patented the original form, so competitors had to come up with alternatives. Another reason is that the different kinds of fiber have different properties and uses. For instance, Kevlar® (the bulletproof vest material) and Nomex® (a fireproof textile for race car suits and oven gloves) are chemically related to nylon.
Traditional materials such as wood and cotton exist in nature, while nylon does not. A nylon polymer is made by reacting together two relatively large molecules using heat around 545°F and pressure from an industrial-strength kettle. When the units combine, they fuse to form an even larger molecule. This abundant polymer is the most common type of nylon—known as nylon-6,6, which contains six carbon atoms. With a similar process, other nylon variations are made by reacting to different starting chemicals.
This process creates a sheet or ribbon of nylon that gets shredded into chips. These chips are now the raw material for all kinds of everyday products. However, nylon fabrics are made not from chips but from fibers of nylon, which are strands of plastic yarn. This yarn is made by melting nylon chips and drawing them through a spinneret, which is a wheel with tiny holes. Fibers of different length and thickness are made by using holes of different sizes and drawing them out at different speeds. The more strands wrapped together means the thicker and stronger the yarn.
ADVANTAGES OF NYLON
Nylon has both excellent strength and abrasion resistance, allowing it to stand up to any sport. It has a fantastic elastic recovery meaning that fabrics can stretch to their limits without losing their shape. Besides, nylon has good resistance to sunlight, making it an excellent choice for activewear. Its ability to accept acid dyes makes it possible to achieve brighter colors than it’s other synthetic counterparts.
To summarize, the characteristics that have made nylon fabric in particular popular include:
- Rugged durability
- Stretch and elasticity
- Resistant to tears and abrasions
- Resistant to heat and water
- Melts instead of catching fire
Nylon is one of the most cost-effective fabrics due to its readily available ingredients, making it ideal for sewers or up and coming apparel businesses. Nylon fabrics come in a wide variety of stretch and are great wicking fabrics to keep wearers fresh! They are perfect for leotards, jerseys, swimsuits, and other activities requiring freedom of movement.
As you can tell, nylon fabric is a fresh, durable, and extremely low-maintenance option in the textile industry. Nylon and Spandex fabric gives users the movement they need while being a cost-effective fabric not to break the bank!