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The Plastic Evolution - Polyamide

Polyamide: Engineering Strength and Versatility

As our series on plastics continues, we turn our attention to a family of plastics known for their strength and resilience: Polyamides (PAs), commonly referred to by their most famous brand name, Nylon.

Historical Background: The development of Polyamides marks a significant milestone in the plastics industry. Nylon, the first synthetic polyamide, was invented by Wallace Carothers at DuPont in 1935. It revolutionised the textile industry and went on to become a critical material in various engineering applications.


1. High Mechanical Strength: Polyamides are renowned for their toughness and high tensile strength, making them suitable for demanding applications.

2. Thermal Resistance: With a high melting point, PAs sustain their properties over a wide temperature range.

3. Chemical Resistance: They exhibit good resistance to chemicals, including oils, greases, and solvents.

4. Abrasion Resistance: PAs are highly resistant to wear and tear, which is why they are a material of choice for products like gears and bearings.


1. Versatility: Polyamides can be found in everything from automotive components, to electronics and clothing.

2. Hygroscopic Nature: Polyamides can absorb moisture, which actually can improve their mechanical properties and make them more resistant to cracking.

3. Ease of Processing: PAs can be easily processed through various methods, including extrusion and injection moulding.


1. Water Absorption: While absorption can be beneficial, it can also lead to dimensional changes and a reduction in mechanical properties over time if not properly accounted for.

2. UV Sensitivity: PAs can degrade when exposed to UV light for prolonged periods, necessitating additives to improve resistance.

3. Cost: Compared to other plastics like Polyethylene and PVC, Polyamides can be more expensive due to their advanced properties and processing requirements.

Polyamide's introduction ushered in a new era of 'super plastics' with capabilities that surpassed the basic functionalities of their predecessors. From the iconic Nylon stockings, to high-performance gears that drive machinery, Polyamides continue to push the boundaries of what synthetic materials can achieve.

Whether you are looking to discuss the potential of Polyamides for your project or have a query about plastic manufacturing, the Amey Plastics team are eager to lend our expertise. Contact us at 01730 266525 or send an email to


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