There are various types and compositions of powder coating available for use, two of these being nylon and polyester. Both share similar strengths, being powder coatings, but also possess different advantages that might make one more attractive than the other in the right setting.
So, which do you need: a nylon coating or polyester?
Nylon powder coating is a powder composed of nylon, otherwise known as polyamide. Like all powder coatings, nylon powder coating is composed of polymer resin particles combined with other ingredients such as pigments, curatives, and flow modifiers that all help its finish and quality once heated and cured.
Not every use of a powder coating will be composed of nylon, and the choice is best left to an expert who knows the best context for each type of coating. Nylon is a thermoplastic powder coating, meaning it can melt under heat once cured unlike a thermoset coating.
Like many powder coatings, a nylon coating is durable, long-lasting, and non-toxic. The standard benefits of any powder coating are well documented, but nylon in particular has some advantages of its own.
Nylon powder can be manufactured from renewable resources such as the castor bean plant, and has fantastic resistance to wear and abrasion. In fact, the abrasion resistance of nylon can be expected to be several times that of polyester and result in a longer life on high-contact surfaces.
Nylon powder also has better thermal insulation and chemical resistance than polyester and it absorbs vibrations very well, making it well suited for machinery and industrial environments. Despite its toughness and impact resistance, it remains flexible and a good ecological option.
Being a thermoplastic powder means that nylon is not suitable for contexts where a thermoset powder would be best used. Thermoset powders cannot be melted when exposed to high temperatures due to the cross-linking chemical change they undergo when cured.
Nylon coatings can be more expensive upfront to have applied and is generally thicker than most other coatings, making thinner films difficult or impossible to achieve.
Polyester powder coating sets itself apart from nylon coating in a few ways, primarily the fact that it’s a thermoset powder. This means that once it’s cured, it retains its form and is chemically strong due to its cross-linking reaction.
Polyester powders can come in standard or super durable forms, the latter being best for items that will spend most or all of their time outside.
Polyester powder coatings boast great resistance to UV and weather. They keep their colour through prolonged exposure to sunlight better than coatings like nylon, making them the superior choice for outdoor uses like vehicles, architecture, and landscaping features.
Super durable polyesters coatings are even better in this regard, and they also see a lot of indoors use particularly for areas of high contact and abrasion such as handrails and metal balustrades. Not only is the coating itself durable and protective, but it doesn’t easily fade and so the decorative element of the coating stays sharp and attractive.
Polyester has a lower cost per kilo than nylon, which makes it more affordable in some scenarios.
There are few drawbacks to polyester coatings given their excellent properties and usefulness for both outdoor and indoor applications.
However, polyester doesn’t possess the same level of thermal insulation that nylon does and is more flexible at lower temperatures. Nylon also holds superior chemical resistance.
Polyester being a thermoset powder means that once it’s cured, it’s unusable once removed from its substrate and cannot be reheated into a liquid form. For long-term applications effectively meant to be permanent, this isn’t a problem.
Between polyester and nylon coating, there is no clear cut winner for all situations. Polyester coating is arguably more versatile than nylon, with its resistance to UV and weather giving it excellent colour stability. However, nylon provides fantastic chemical and abrasion resistance, giving it an edge in toughness and durability.
To find out which type of coating you need for your project, don’t hesitate to contact Tomburn today.