Nylon is one of the most popular types of fabrics in the world, this is because of its easy-to-make chemical structure. Nylon is what’s known as a polymer fabric, which in layman’s terms mean that the fabric is made from plastic. But can such a fabric be considered to be good for a cold season like winter? As it was also intended to replace and be an alternative to fabrics like silk and hemp (with hemp being a very popular material in the making of most winter clothing.)
What Is Nylon?
Nylon is a synthetic (man-made) fabric that is used for the making of clothes and different types of industrial products. Because it is a synthetic fabric, it is not prone to defects most organic fabrics are prone to (this can range from molding, to the infamous case of mildew due to wetness on the clothing.) Because of its silky-like texture and look, Nylon quickly became a replacement for the real thing (silk.) But as the years went on and as people become more learned, the manufacturing of Nylon is said to be very bad for the environment. This is because Nylon is made from petroleum oil through a process known as catalytic cracking; at a certain temperature level Nylon fibers develop when the petroleum oil is heated, such that they are moldable and formally. Once this temperature level is reached, the Nylon fibers are then cooled back down.
So Is It Any Good For Winter?
On its own Nylon is not good for winter. It works best as a waterproofing material for clothing rather than an insulating material which you would need for a time like winter. An insulating material keeps all the cold air out, whilst also keeping all the warm air inside (between you and the apparel.) However when Nylon is used with another synthetic material (also made from petroleum oil) called polyester. Whereby the material on the outside is Nylon and polyester is on the inside or inner part of the clothing and/or garment, it will have great heat production and retention abilities which is very important for a cold season like winter.
Nylon is highly stretchable and so it is most popularly used in the production of sportswear; which has to be light weighted and smooth on the skin. This is not what winter apparel should be like. To be warm and comfy during winter you would need puffer and more heavier clothing (there are plenty of exceptions however), these are properties that Nylon doesn’t properly possess.
Nylon is a great outer shell for clothing in seasons like spring and summer when it is more likely to rain. It has great waterproofing abilities because of its plastic (polymer) make up. Nylon can be very good for a season like summer, although offering no breathability for the skin. Because of its thin and light make up, heat retention is at a minimum, this would not be good for a cold season like winter.
Types Of Nylon
- Nylon 6: This type of Nylon is mostly used in the manufacturing of Nylon fabric. This is what then becomes your sportswear, backpacks and industrial attire, etcetera. As previously mentioned when Nylon is mixed with another material like polyester or cotton (both are great at heat retention) it can be very good for winter. However on its own Nylon is bad for winter.
- Nylon 46: Also called Stanyl, it is mostly used in engine components like fans and brakes, so it is not made or produced with fabrics and apparel in mind.
- Nylon 510: Also a fabric kind of Nylon, this type has a high production cost and so its applications are merely industrial, and scientific, research based.
- Nylon 6.6: A fully synthetic type of Nylon, this type of Nylon is first turned into a salt and then melted to form fibers, or crystallized to become a purifying agent.
- Although only two types of Nylon from the list above are used in Nylon fabric production, it just goes to show how varied Nylon truly is.
- You will find most waterproof accessories like umbrellas or backpacks are made of Nylon, this is because its polymer structure does not let any water out. Even some raincoats are made of Nylon, when the raincoat has direct contact with the skin and it is raining you will often feel cold as a result. This is just an example to show how Nylon wouldn’t be particularly good for a season like winter.
More On Nylon
- A lot of energy is required to make Nylon fabric, and a lot of waste is expelled out into the environment then after. This is one other reason why Nylon fabric isn’t good for winter, it is bad for the environment. Contributing to the overall extreme temperature changes in the earth’s climate. Because of this reason Nylon has become quite unpopular, causing manufacturers to come up with more sustainable and renewable forms of synthetic fibers and fabrics that are good for the environment.
- When Nylon fabric is mixed with another kind of fabric, it is very low cost to produce. Although it is relatively cheap to manufacture on its own to-date.
- When Nylon was first developed, it was to be an alternative to silk (which was in low supply at the time because of its high cost of production; organic silk is mainly acquired from silk worms.) Nylon was also very more expensive than silk, this has drastically changed over the years.
Nylon can be considered to be great for the production of things like plastic machine parts, fishnets, raincoats, umbrellas, industrial grade belts, etcetera. But it is not good (on its own) as a fabric for winter apparel. Its production has a devastating cost on the environment and that should really say a lotvabout whether or notvit should be even considered when making apparel or fabrics that is good for winter.