Nylon Fasteners: An Alternative to Metal?
Nylon screws, bolts, and nuts are gaining popularity. Available in all metric sizes, they are often found in appliances, electronics, and even industrial-strength uses such as production equipment and automobiles. Threaded nylon metric fasteners can connect and clamp a variety of materials commonly used in construction and manufacturing processes, such as wood, metal, plastic, etc. But, just because they can be used for a particular application does not mean they should be used.
So how do you decide whether nylon bolts and screws offer a viable alternative to more traditional metallic fasteners? The key is to understand nylon’s unique characteristics and the impact they will have on the job conditions and application.
Consider these properties of nylon fasteners:
Nylon is a type of plastic, so unlike most metals used in the construction of bolts and screws, it will not conduct electricity. This trait makes nylon fasteners an excellent choice for connecting insulation, isolating currents, and use in electronic devices and electric appliances.
Similarly, nylon does not burn. Though it cannot be used in extreme heat conditions such as cooking or industrial drying, when treated with other plastics, nylon can be made resistant to the high heat generated in production processes, household appliances, laptop computers, etc.
Weighing half as much as aluminum and much less than steel, nylon fasteners resist wear and stay tight in most conditions. Engineers and manufactures should consider them for handheld devices such as cell phones and tablets, and anytime multiple fasteners are required and weight is a constraint.
Ferrous metal fasteners rust and other metal can fret, suffer stress or fatigue corrosion, causing them to stick and weakening their structural integrity. Metric nylon fasteners however are not only highly resistant to diesel fuel, gasoline, and many solvents and lubricants, they also absorb vibrations that can cause adjacent metal panels and components to corrode.
Because nylon fasteners are made by extrusion and injection molding, pigment can be easily added during the processes to create fasteners of virtually any color to match or contrast with the work pieces they will hold together. Color, as well as choice of finish ranging from matte to lustrous, will not affect the fasteners’ shear or tensile strength. Because the color runs throughout the bolt, it cannot be scraped or chipped off, and it resists fading.
A Word of Caution
Despite these valuable characteristics, nylon fasteners should not be used in several everyday operations. Nylon tends to pull moisture from the air, causing screws, bolts, and nuts to bloat, which can compromise their clamping and holding power. Metal fasters usually provide a better choice in manufacturing that uses water including construction projects in humid conditions or chances of being exposed to wet weather.
As aforementioned, high heat and tension are nylon fasteners’ friends. Though nylon is a hardy material and has a high melting point among plastics, it falls short of steel in these departments. In addition, the ultraviolent rays in sunlight can degrade the nylon material, making it unreliable and susceptible to breaking.
Screws, bolts, nuts, and threaded rods made of nylon possess chemical and mechanical properties that make them ideal for use in many electrical devices and components, and when durable, lightweight, corrosion-resistant fasteners offer better solutions than metal alternatives.
Call Mr. Metric today at 866-501-9504, and let our experts guide you through the selection of the metric fasteners – nylon or metal – that are best for your project. Shop our large selection of metric fasteners in a variety of different materials to find the one that fits your needs.