What is the difference between nylon and UHMW?

    Nylon and UHMW are widely used in the plastics industry where both are prized for their low coefficient of friction and superior resistance to abrasion. Although they share common characteristics, nylon is more suitable for applications with significant impact and compression constraints, while UHMW is mainly used to manufacture larger wear or sliding parts.

     To directly discover the differences between UHMW and nylon at the end of the article, CLICK HERE


    Nylons are part of the polyamide family and can be classified into two categories: natural and high-performance nylons.


    Natural nylons

    Natural nylons are referred to as such because their resin is free of any additives. There are two types of natural nylons: 6 and 66. We've previously published a blog post on this subject, which you can read by clicking here.

    The main advantages of natural nylons

    Compared to UHMW, natural nylons have better dimensional stability. As a result, this material is easier to machine and has a greater tolerance to certain constraints. They also offer superior mechanical properties with increased resistance to heat, compression and impact.

    Common applications for natural nylons

    Natural nylons are a popular choice for a wide variety of applications in the food processing and material handling industries. They can be used to manufacture:

    • Thrust washers
    • Bearings
    • Bushings
    • Pulleys
    • Gears and cogs
    High-performance Nylons

    High-performance nylons contain additives that are added directly to their resin. Compared to UHMW, they offer an increased range of options designed for the most demanding applications. High-performance nylons are available in close to 40 different formulations, the most popular of which are:

    NYCAST®  6PA MoS2

    This is a dark grey nylon with a stone dust additive that acts as a dry lubricant.

    line-chart-pngADVANTAGES: It offers superior wear resistance — up to 5 times higher than natural nylon.

    solutionsAPPLICATIONS: Wear parts, side bars, sleeve bearings, gaskets…


    Easily recognizable thanks to its green colour, it contains a vegetable oil-based lubricant added during the manufacturing process.

    line-chart-pngADVANTAGESA nylon that contains a self-lubricating additive activated by increased speed. It possesses a lower coefficient of friction than its other counterparts and thus helps to reduce frictional noise. It's also available in food grade under NYLOIL® FG and NYLOIL® MDX.

    solutionsAPPLICATIONSIt's used to produce gears and mechanical or rolling parts for the manufacturing or heavy machinery industry where there's an increase in speed or rolling force.


    Available in blue or black, this nylon contains a thermal stabilizer that delays the degradation of physical properties as temperature rises.

    line-chart-pngADVANTAGES: Compared to other types of nylon, it can withstand continuous temperatures that are about 10% higher.

    solutionsAPPLICATIONS: It can be used to manufacture parts suitable for excessively hot environments or where increasing friction causes heat to build up, such as in a pulp and paper mill.


    This nylon offers the best performance for impact-related issues. Usually available in blue (MPB), it can also be obtained in yellow (MPY).

    line-chart-pngADVANTAGESThis type of nylon is used to protect equipment subjected to metal-to-metal impact. It performs particularly well in very cold temperatures as opposed to other types of plastics that may break under the force of impact.

    solutionsAPPLICATIONS: Pile drivers, valve heads... 


    The UHMW

    Thanks to their versatility and advantageous combinations of mechanical properties, UHMWs can meet a wide range of needs and are therefore used in a number of different industries.


    Advantages and applications

    You can find out more about UHMWs in the following articles:

    1.  What is the difference between UHMW and HDPE?

    2. 5 advantages of using TIVAR® 88, a high performance UHMW

    3. Can UHMW be used in the food industry?


    When to choose between nylons and UHMWs?

    • Smaller parts subject to steady movement at high speeds
    • Noisy environments
    • High-temperature or very cold environments
    • Environments where metal-to-metal impact is an issue

    • Dry environments
    • Larger parts and components
    • Wear parts not subjected to high compression force

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