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Nylon or Polyester: Which powder coating should you use?

There are different types of powder coating, and two of these are nylon powder coating and polyester powder coating.

But which should you use: nylon or polyester?

What is Nylon Powder Coating?

Nylon is an increasingly popular thermoplastic powder coating. Although, when compared with other powder coatings, including, polyester it is expensive, it is also highly effective.

As a thermoplastic polyamide resin, nylon has a chemistry that does not change when it is heated up to melting point and adhered to a metal surface.

It is a renewable, raw material that mainly comes from the vegetable oil that is extracted from castor beans.

Castor beans contain the poisonous substance ricin, but they can also be transformed into polyamide 11, which is a thermoplastic polymer member of the nylon family.

This polymer blend is both stronger and lighter than more conventional structural materials.

The castor bean plant thrives in warm climates, but it is not grown as a food crop, which makes it an ideal, renewable resource for nylon powder coating. 

Nylon powder coating is very strong and resilient, but can be applied as an extremely thin layer.

You usually apply it via a fluidised bed.

This method differs from the spray method associated with other powder coatings in that the part to be coated is dipped into a container holding the nylon powder coating.

Air flows upwards through the bottom of this special container, which fluidises the coating.

The reason for using this application method is that the particles in nylon powder coating are coarser than in other types of coating, and are therefore less easy to apply using a spray gun.

Once you have applied the coating in this way, you then cure it in a baking oven. This creates a solid, film coating.

What are the Benefits of Nylon Powder Coating?

For resistance to wear and impact, nylon powder coating is high performing.

  • When you apply a nylon coating, it forms a continuous protective bond that adheres to the surface.
  • This provides advanced protection from various environmental conditions.
  • Nylon coatings are especially resistant to scuffing and abrasion.
  • Alongside its resilience and toughness, nylon provides good thermal insulation, electrical strength and chemical resistance.
  • It also absorbs vibration and sound, making it well-suited to coating industrial and machine parts where noise can be a health and safety issue. This is because of its low-friction coefficient.
  • The durability and resilience of nylon powder coatings makes them able to withstand powerful cleaning processes. 
  • Nylon powder coating is extremely functional and adaptable. Its properties include corrosion resistance and chemical resistance to hydrocarbons, solvents, acids, alkalis and salts. It is flexible but highly impact-resistant.
  • As a product which comes from an organic, renewable source, it is also sustainable, displaying good green credentials.

What is Polyester Powder Coating?

Polyester powder coating is a polymer-based dry coating that offers a durable, adaptable alternative to liquid paint.

There are various forms of polyester powder coating, suitable for indoor and outdoor applications, some tougher than others.

Polyester powder coating, or PPC, provides a cost-effective answer to protecting various metallic substrates.

Applied via a high pressure, electrostatic spray, PPC produces an excellently uniform level of coverage.

The curing process, in a baking oven, melts and fuses the combined polymer and pigment powder into a strong, smooth coat, which then acts as a protective skin for the surface it is covering.

What are the Benefits of Polyester Powder Coating?

PPC is cost-effective and fast-working.

It combines flexibility with a high degree of mechanical resistance. Standard polyester powder coatings also offer up to thirty years of effective UV resistance.

More advanced, super-durable polyester coatings will provide longer lasting colour and improved strength and resistance.

For various metal substrates that require a finish, PPC provides a protective coating that supports resistance to corrosion but can also be decorative.

As an application, PPC has certain inherent benefits:

  • It provides strong, attractive and uniform finishes.
  • It can reach difficult angles, awkward areas and hidden surfaces.
  • The curing process that bakes the powder coating hardens it, giving it a durable finish.
  • PPC is a rapid process, enabling the coating, treating and finishing of fabrications in a single day.
  • It minimises waste, with any over-sprayed powder being re-usable.
  • Polyester powder coatings are environmentally friendly, containing no solvents, making them easy and economical to transport and dispose of.

Nylon or Polyester for Your Powder Coating?

Nylon and polyester powder coatings each have benefits and are well-suited for different applications and locations.

Both represent a significant advance on liquid paint coatings.

However, if protection is your main priority, then nylon performs extremely effectively here.

It is also ideal for warm-to-touch applications such as handrails and commercial outdoor furniture.

Nylon coated surfaces are virtually impervious to pressure extremes, making them extremely hard-wearing.

Nylon powder coating, once applied and cured has better chemical resistance than polyester.

On the other hand, polyester powder coating is less expensive, and highly suited to a broad range of applications, including external architectural finishes, street furniture and heavy machinery.

It has excellent weather and UV resistance, and due to its availability in a wide range of colours it looks good aesthetically. 

In many situations you can apply PPC without a primer, unlike nylon, and also unlike nylon, it will not re-melt in high temperatures.

How to Choose

Factors in choosing your powder coating very much depend on its end application.

We are happy to advise. For more information about powder coatings, please contact us.


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Nylon or Polyester: Which powder coating should you use?

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