Since its launch by DuPont in the 1930s, nylon has become one of the most used fabrics in the world due to its durability, cost-effectiveness, and elasticity. Nylon fiber is entirely synthetic, and today it is most commonly found in apparel and consumer goods. The use of nylon fabric in clothing began as people searched for an alternative to hemp and silk parachutes during World War II. At the time, more than 80% of textile applications in the United States used cotton.
However, synthetic fibers like nylon slowly gained popularity and had a 25% market share by 1945. Once the war ended, the use of nylon in garments and military items rose in popularity. Nylon is still a useful and popular fabric choice in the world today due to its many advantages. This article details the synthetic fabric’s properties and the types of nylon fabrics available from HLC Industries.
What Is Nylon Fabric?
Nylon is an umbrella term for a family of synthetic polymers. Nylon is completely synthetic, meaning that it is a non-organic material. Nylon fibers have gained popularity internationally due to their incredible durability, elasticity, and strength. Also referred to as polyamide fabric, nylon has become a necessary textile due to its versatility. Nylon has high water resistance properties, making it the primary choice for items like swimwear clothing. In the military, this fabric is used in bulletproof vests and durable, water-resistant outerwear.
Nylon fabrics are comprised of monomers, which are long chains of carbon-based molecules, and are derived from petroleum. They are made by spinning several fibers together, which can be 100% nylon fibers or a mixture of other fibers such as polyester or cotton. The majority of today’s nylon fabric is blended material, which makes it stretchy, strong, and cheaper to produce. A polyester blend strengthens nylon’s immunity against UV rays, while cotton fiber enhances breathability.
Woven Nylon Fabric Properties
Nylon possesses numerous qualities that make it an excellent fabric choice for countless applications, including:
- Durability: One of the most notable properties of nylon fabric is its superior strength and durability. The durability and tensile strength of nylon are said to be even greater than steel.
- Elasticity: Nylon fabrics have incredible elasticity that helps retain their original shapes and sizes. Nylon has revolutionized women’s sportswear, providing comfortable, supportive sports bras to the masses.
- Wrinkle-Resistant: Nylon fabrics are extremely wrinkle-resistant, making them preferred in the clothing industry. Nylon’s wrinkle resistance reduces the need for frequent ironing, which is appealing to consumers.
- Shrinkage Resistant: 100% nylon garments are highly resistant to shrinking even after washing. The addition of other fibers increases the probability that the fabric will shrink.
- Resilience: Nylon is durable and highly resistant to abrasion, making it ideal for use in high-traffic carpets.
- UV Resistance: Nylon fabrics aren’t 100% UV and light-resistant, but this synthetic material is easily mixed with UV and light-resistant chemicals that significantly improve their performance.
- Flammability: Nylon’s flammability score is very low since it doesn’t burn easily. However, when exposed to high temperatures, nylon can melt. Specially formulated nylons can withstand intense heat but are typically reserved for commercial or industrial settings.
- Chemical and Mildew Resistance: Nylon is highly resistant to mildew, so users find it easy to maintain. Heavy chemicals or bleach are not needed to clean nylon fabric due to its mildew-proof structure. Nylon can also withstand exposure to oil and bleach.
- Absorbency: Depending on the nylon type, it can absorb moisture and hold relatively large amounts of water. For instance, nylon blended with cotton fibers has high absorption levels since cotton is a highly absorbent material. Conversely, water-repellent chemicals and resin treatments make nylon textiles more waterproof.
- Moisture-Wicking: Although there is still debate on nylon’s moisture-wicking properties, it can absorb water in different degrees. This is a major reason why nylon is preferred in making sportswear because it eliminates sweat from the body to keep the wearer cool.
- Maintenance: Nylon fabrics are easy to care for. They are machine washable and can be dried quickly at a low heat setting.
- Comfort: Nylon fabrics are lightweight and feel cool against the skin. With its high degree of stretchability, nylon gives the wearer a full range of movement while maintaining comfort.
- Cost: Unlike natural fiber such as linen and cotton, nylon is relatively affordable. This has made it a preferred option for clothing manufacturers because it helps lower production costs and still delivers quality products
Types of Woven Nylon Fabric
Some of the different types of woven nylon fabric available at HLC include:
Nylon fabrics used to manufacture parachutes have an extra thick thread that creates small square patterns, usually referred to as ripstop nylon. At HLC, we create specially woven parachute fabrics that undergo testing in US-certified facilities. Our parachute fabrics are utilized in commercial aerial delivery systems and the military.
This synthetic material is strong, versatile, and durable, making CORDURA a high-caliber fabric that is useful in various projects. We offer solution-dyed CORDURA in 500D and 1000d which are polyurethane-coated with durable water-repellent to meet the MIL-DTL-32439B properties.
Mil-Spec fabrics are specially made nylon fabrics used in military gear. This material is resistant to puncturing, tearing, and abrasion. HLC specializes in both lightweight and heavyweight Mil-Spec fabrics for mission-specific applications.
Commercial fabrics are strong and versatile with varying degrees of durability to meet application-specific requirements. We have a wide range of commercial fabrics with a variety of enhancements such as laminates, nIR, fire-retardant coatings, antimicrobial finishes, and more.
OCPX-Scorpion W-2 is a commercial fabric mostly used in military combat uniforms due to its camouflage pattern. HLC has an inventory of these fabrics, usually polyurethane-coated in the 330d, 500D, and 1000D with a DWR class 3 finish. All of our OCPX-Scorpion W-2 materials meet the nIR spectral reflectance properties.
Berry Compliant Woven Nylon Fabrics
The Berry Amendment protects textile manufacturers in the U.S. during wartime. This amendment states that the Department of Defense in the U.S. should use funds to buy certain domestically manufactured goods, including fabric, yarn, tents, tools, and food. Additionally, the Department of Defense is prohibited from purchasing goods from international suppliers unless they could not acquire the required goods domestically.
Any company that wants to obtain compliance must guarantee that its items are 100% domestic. At HLC, we produce all of our woven nylon fabrics in the United States to maintain Berry compliance.
Berry Compliant Woven Nylon Fabrics from HLC Industries
Woven nylon fabrics have become an integral part of the modern world. In addition to military and commercial use, nylons can be found in luxury garments, heat-resistant car parts, swimwear, umbrellas, dresses, ski apparel, windbreakers, parachutes, and more. This synthetic material is preferred because it’s strong, elastic, machine washable, resistant to oil and many chemicals, and more.
At HLC, we are a leading manufacturer of woven nylon fabrics used in the textile industry, military, and other applications. We produce all our products locally in the USA, and we are ISO 9001:2015 certified in nylon woven fabric products. Contact us for more information about a suitable solution for your upcoming project or request a quote.