When you think of nylon, most people might think “nylons”, or women’s stockings, that somehow fell out of popularity in the last decade or so. Interestingly, nylon material was invented by the DuPont Fiber Company and marketed as a stocking materi al in the 1940s and 50s. Today, nylon is used in many more products.  In fact, nylon as a material is used in seemingly unexpected applications – like nylon screws.

What exactly is a nylon screw?

nylon screwsA nylon screw is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a screw made out of nylon, which makes it a type of plastic screw. However, not all nylon screws are created equal.

Just like there are dozens of metal screw heads, there are many different types of nylon screw heads. A few commonly used heads include the hex head, which can be used with a spanner wrench, a socket head, which can be used with an Allen wrench, and a slotted head, which can be used with a regular old flat head screwdriver. Although these may be the most popular choices, various other head types can be found and may be a good choice, depending on your application.

Just like the heads on nylon screws can vary, the threading can vary as well. Nylon plastic screws generally have narrower threading profiles than metal screws, which can reduce radial stress. Self-tapping screws are also available.

Not all nylon is created equal either. Different types of nylon screws have been treated with different chemicals that can improve UV performance and flame resistance.

What are nylon screws for?

Metal screws are the most popular choice for a wide variety of applications, but you’re still likely to come across nylon screws more often than you might think.

Nylon screws can be found in home appliances, like washing machines, electronics, and some heavy-duty commercial machines. You can even find nylon screws in automotive parts.

Nylon is also able to fasten to many different kinds of materials, which makes it extremely versatile. Nylon screws can be used with particle board, rubber, metal, wood, and other plastic items.

Why use a nylon screw?

There are quite a few reasons why nylon screws are a good choice for many different applications. They are more lightweight than traditional metal screws, which can greatly affect the weight of the completed project, depending on how many of those screws you have to use. They are tougher than they look, which also means that they are resistant to corrosion, unlike metal screws that can rust quickly. They have good insulating properties and can conform to irregular surfaces.

Nylon screws aren’t always the answer

Although nylon screws have a lot to offer, they aren’t always the best choice. Nylon is able to attract and absorb water. As the screw takes on water, the entire composition of the screw changes, ultimately degrading the material. It’s usually not a good idea to use nylon screws in and around water.

Nylon can provide a service temperature of 121 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s pretty good for a plastic screw, but it’s not good enough for applications that regularly experience higher temperatures, like ovens.

Although Nylon is pretty strong, considering its a plastic material, it has a pretty impressive tensile strength of 10,000 PSI. However, metal performs much better and should be used when higher strengths are required.

If you’re having a hard time deciding if nylon fasteners are right for your project, contact us and we’d be happy to answer your questions. We’ll make sure you find the right fastener so you can move forward with your project with confidence.