Apexmills Blog

Why Use Nylon in Textiles?

Nylon is a synthetic polymer known as polyamide produced through a chemical process called polymerization. It was developed by the DuPont company in the 1930s and quickly became popular as a substitute for silk in various applications. In the textile manufacturing process, nylon chips are melted and extruded through spinnerets and spun as filaments. The filaments are joined together using heat, twisting, or intermingling with other filaments to make nylon yarn.

Denier is a key term in the textile industry. Denier represents the weight in grams of a 9,000-meter length of fiber or yarn (g/9k). Typically, the lower the denier, the finer the yarns. Denier types vary from fine, micro, standard, to heavy, each with its specific applications and characteristics used from sheer stockings to luggage. 

Nylon is a man-made yarn that is widely used in textiles due to its high tensile strength, durability against abrasion, and versatility. Here are some key points about nylon yarn used in textiles:

  1. Strength and Durability: Known for its exceptional strength and durability, Nylon yarn is stronger than many natural fibers such as cotton or wool, making it ideal for demanding applications where strength is critical, such as in carpets, automobiles, upholstery, and outdoor fabrics.
  2. Resilience and Elasticity: Nylon yarn has excellent physical properties like resilience and elasticity, which means it can stretch and then recover to its original shape. This stretching property makes it ideal for use in garments like sportswear, swimwear, shapewear, and hosiery, where flexibility and shape retention are key.
  3. Versatility: Nylon yarn can be processed into various forms, including filament yarn (continuous strands) and staple yarn (short fibers twisted together). It can be used alone or blended with other fibers like cotton, wool, or polyester to enhance specific properties of the resulting fabric such as softness, strength, and stretch.
  4. Applications: Nylon yarn is widely used in textiles for various purposes:
    • Apparel: Due to its strength, elasticity, softness, and recovery properties nylon is often used in activewear, lingerie, legwear, and outerwear.
    • Home Textiles: It is used in carpets, upholstery fabrics, and bedding due to its durability and resistance to abrasion.
    • Industrial Use: Nylon is used in industrial applications such as tire cords, seat belts, ropes, and conveyor belts because of its strength and toughness.
  5. Dyeability: Nylon yarn can be easily dyed, allowing for a wide range of colors and patterns in textiles.     
  6. Finishing: Fire retardant, antimicrobial, and metalization finishes adhere to nylon yarn with exceptional permanence.  Nylon yarn can be textured with surface treatments such as brushing and sanding that provide a soft, velvet-like smoothness and a fuller hand.
  7. Moisture Resistance: Nylon yarn can be treated to reduce moisture absorption in applications where water repellency is needed.
  8. Cost-Effectiveness: Nylon fibers and yarns can be recycled, thus making nylon an excellent material to reduce a carbon footprint. Nylon fibers and yarns can have a significant amount of recycled nylon added back to the virgin material helping to reduce greenhouse emissions and manufacturing costs. Compared to natural fibers like silk, cotton, or wool, nylon yarn is relatively inexpensive to produce, making it a cost-effective choice for many textile applications.
  9. Production: According to Apex Mills plant management, it is “one of the better and more adaptable synthetic yarns to produce textiles”.

Overall, nylon yarn remains a popular choice in the textile industry due to its combination of high tensile strength, durability, comfort, and versatility.

Figure 1 Raschel Knit Mesh style TP21 is made of Berry-compliant nylon type 6,6.
It is MIL-C-8061 compliant for MOLLE systems, safety apparel, tactical gear, seat cushions, and medical pack components.


Figure 2  Apex Mills stretch raschel knit style 90312 is a blend of nylon and spandex yarns featuring excellent stretch, flexibility, and fit properties. Its superior capabilities to recover to its original shape make it ideal for compression garments, sportswear, swimwear, and shapewear where flexibility and shape retention are required.


Figure 3  Mesh Netting style RC47N is made of Berry-compliant Nylon type 6,6. and is military-specified for tents and other applications.


Contact Apex Mills for Your Innovative Textile Needs

Many organizations within the medical, military, apparel, contract furniture, footwear, and sports industries depend on Apex Mills for innovative textile products. Our fabric specialists are committed to delivering results you can depend on. If youre ready to get started, contact our team online to learn more about our solutions for your specific application.


Figure 4  Mesh/Netting style PV10 above is made of fire retardant-treated nylon for aerospace and defense, manufacturing, safety, and protection applications.


Figure 5  Mesh/Netting style NL50 is used for apparel, manufacturing, and military applications.


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