PolyGlobal Material Comparison – Polyurethane, Nylon & Polypropylene

Posted on: 3rd Oct 2018

Engineering Plastic Compound

PolyGlobal are specialists in the injection and cast moulding of engineering plastics. They produce components that facilitate critical applications in a diverse range of industries across the world.

PolyGlobal ‘s core range of materials includes Polyurethanes, Nylons and Polypropylene. There are various options available in these materials and they offer widely differing properties and characteristics making them suitable for a vast range of solutions.

The below guide highlights the different characteristics of each material and typical applications:


Polyurethane is a flexible, resilient and highly durable engineering plastic. As an industry leading moulded solutions provider, PolyGlobal offers three main families of polyurethanes: Polyesters (Esters), Polyethers (Ethers) and Caprolactones. Each grade offers varying characteristics and qualities to meet specific requirements.


In comparison to other polyurethanes, esters offer excellent abrasion resistance and high chemical and oil resistance. Thy are ideally suited to abrasion and high load bearing applications, particularly in the construction, mining and aggregate screening industry.

Typical applications include belt scrapers, aggregate screens, excavator bucket linings, snow plough scraper blades and roller/wheel covers.

Aggregate Screen

Due to their good balance of physical properties, polyesters also provide excellent damping solutions such as shock and vibration absorbers.

The composition of the material means polyesters are often a more economical option compared to other polyurethane grades.


Polyethers exhibit excellent rebound properties and high impingement abrasion resistance. They also offer excellent low temperature flexibility and microbial resistance compared to other polyurethanes.

Ether’s key advantage over its polyurethane counter parts however, is its excellent resistance to hydrolysis. This means they are ideally suited to water-based applications providing excellent solutions in the Offshore and Marine industry in particular.

Typical applications include bend restrictors, bend stiffeners, chafe protectors and umbilical protection solutions.

Cable clamping solutions


Caprolactones are essentially a hybrid of the key advantages offered by esters and ethers. Exhibiting the excellent abrasion resistance and toughness of esters they also benefit from the superior hydrolysis resistance and low temperature flexibility of ether based polyurethanes.

Inherent toughness, abrasion and cut & chip resistance, a broad temperature range including low temperature flexibility & toughness and excellent compression set resistance are other benefits of caprolactones. Above this they also offer excellent UV, oxidation and heat resistance and very good chemical, oil and solvent resistance

Typical applications for caprolactones include hydraulic seals, pneumatic tubes and protective cable jackets for high temperature applications.



Nylon offers good mechanical properties and wear resistance. Key characteristics include high mechanical strength, rigidity and stability. It is a highly water absorbent material and will often swell in water-based environments. Within the Nylon family, PolyGlobal offer Nylon 6, Nylon 6,6 and Glass Filled varieties.

As a widely available material, Nylons can generally offer low cost solutions across a number of applications.

Nylon 6 or PA6

Nylon 6 or PA6 unfilled materials offer a number of key benefits including excellent bearing and wear properties, good chemical resistance and reduced noise and weight compared with many traditional metal bearing materials. Nylon 6 has high tensile strength and good creep resistance.

Typical Applications for Nylon 6 include bearings and bushes, wear pads, seals and gaskets, rollers and wheels, and components for food processing or packaging machinery.

Image of machinery components made from Nylon 6

Nylon 6,6 or PA66

Nylon 6,6 offers higher mechanical strength and rigidity than Nylon 6. It also has a higher melting point and therefore provides good stability at high temperatures. It has a lower water absorption rate in comparison to Nylon 6, offering a more suitable option for component that have to meet close tolerances.

Nylon 6,6 is well suited for machining on Lathes. It is often used in machine and automobile construction where prefabricated components are exposed to high mechanical and thermal stresses.

Typical applications include packing and processing machinery components, bearings and bushes and gears.

Nylon 6,6

Glass Filled Nylon

Both Nylon 6 and Nylon 6,6 are available as glass filled options. The glass reinforcement causes the material to have higher compressive strength and rigidity along with improved frictional properties. Glass filled nylons have an increased melting point compared to unfilled options.

Due to the presence of glass fibres there is generally a compromise in the surface finish of moulded components.

Glass filled nylon is typically used for components including rollers, gears, castors, bearings, damping plates and friction strips.

GF Nylon


Polypropylene offers an extremely lightweight, flexible material option that maintains important physical properties such as strength and fatigue resistance. It provides excellent chemical resistance coupled with a low moisture absorption rate and so performs well in water-based environments. Polypropylene also has a high melting point up to temperatures of 100°C.

Other key advantages polypropylene holds are that it does not deteriorate in the presence of bacteria and mould and it is unlikely to shatter and will stand significant damage prior to breaking.

Polypropylene is the material of choice for countless applications however some typical ones are buffers, belt covers, cutting boards for food preparation and container lids.


Please visit the PolyGlobal website material page for further information or contact marketing@polyglobal.co.uk with any enquiries

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