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Everything You Need To Know About Nylon 12 PA (Polyamide 12)

Austin Peng
Published 11 Mar 2024

Have you ever wondered what nylon 12 is and what it is used for? Then we have developed a complete guide to learn about this type of nylon in the most efficient way. These days, we often compare nylon 6 vs nylon 12.

We have therefore developed each of the characteristics and properties offered by Nylon 12 PA. We also offer a series of comparisons with other types of nylon. In this way, you can make the best decision when choosing a type of nylon.

Even the analysis of all the characteristics of Nylon 12 could be a little confusing for novice users. We have therefore carried out some research for you, so we recommend that you read on to find out about the properties of nylon 12. After that, you will be able to understand why this component is highly used in many industries and products.

What is Nylon 12?

When we talk about Nylon 12, we are referring to one of the nylon polymers. Here the number 12 is important as it is possible to find a large amount of different nylon. So, to detect it, we must know how it is specifically shaped. Specifically, it is made with a laurolactam of 12 carbons each. That is why it receives the number 12.

In turn, we may consider that the formula of Nylon 12 is:


When talking about its properties we can mention that specifically we can find them between polyolefins and short-chain aliphatic nylon such as nylon 6. When we consider the most important polyamides, we can mention that the melting point of this type of nylon is between 178 and 180 degrees centigrade.

Here it is possible to obtain certain properties that are highly suitable for different commercial productions. Some of these are abrasion resistance, tensile strength, and other mechanical properties such as a high level of hardness. This is a set of properties that are similar to nylon 66 or nylon 6.

On the other hand, the length of the hydrocarbon chain is somewhat long and allows for low water absorption and density. In particular, the exact level is 1.01 grams/ml which is very useful for different areas of production.

Besides, a high level of insensitivity to stress cracking is obtained. Also, some chemicals do not harm the nylon-12 due to its excellent resistance to this.

What is Nylon 12 Used For?

In particular, this type of nylon has an appropriate amount of applications in some industries and productions. As a result, polyamide additives are normally required for which nylon 12 is used. In concrete terms, this material is often used in various medical and pharmaceutical areas.

It is therefore possible to find this type of nylon in sterilized bags, films in general, and films used for packaging material. So, it is very useful to use this material because of its strength combined with a good level of flexibility. At the same time, it may be necessary to improve the impermeability of aromas as well as the permeability to water vapor.

So, when necessary then nylon-12 should be added to the polyethylene films. Although this requires a certain budget, the results are much more convenient for the preservation of many foods. However, the best-known applications also cover other industries and productions of other objects.

Some of them are the automotive industry in general or some fields of electronics. So when synthesized powder or foil is needed to coat metals, nylon 12 is used.

When we refer specifically to the electronics industry, then in nylon 12 I will offer a good level as an insulating material. In particular, this is useful during the production process for the coating of cables.

When we refer to car manufacturing here, both gasoline and oil resistant tubes are required. Nylon-12 is also used for this due to its insulating, abrasion, and chemical resistant properties. However, we can continue to mention other applications for certain personal care and beauty products.

Nylon-12 is used for skin creams and body and facial powders, as an opacifying and bulking agent. This is why different ways have been found to obtain Nylon 12 at a relatively affordable cost.

Finally, among the most common applications, we must also include the textile industry. So, nylon 12 is also useful for some leisure products as well as certain sports objects in the textile industry.

Synthesis of Nylon 12, How is Polyamide 12 Made?

Two different ways can be used to obtain nylon 12. The first is with a carboxylic acid group, a bifunctional monomer with an amine and a polycondensation specifically of amino lauric acid. For this, we must quote the following formula.

n H2N(CH2)11CO2H → [(CH2)11CONH]n + n H2O

As we have mentioned, this is not the only way in which it is possible to obtain nylon-12. Another known way is through the ring polymerization of laurolactam, specifically at a temperature between 260 and 300 degrees Celsius. Here anionics or cationics are needed to obtain the ring-opening.

Beyond that, it is important to mention that cationic initiators may present some disadvantages for people who claim to use them. In particular, you will notice that they rust in a very short time when compared to the second option. Also, they have much lower stability which prevents them from being used commercially on a large scale.

Therefore, activated anionic polymerization, or in other words, monomer casting, is a much more convenient way to perform the procedure. When we refer only to the commercial areas and their specific production then ring-opening polymerization is the best way. With which, here we must use the following formula to do it this way.

n [(CH2)11CONH] → [(CH2)11CONH]n

Nylon 12 Properties

As we have mentioned among its characteristics, we can obtain one of the lowest levels of water absorption, as well as a low density. Specifically, it is a density of only 1.01 grams/ml. Also, you will notice that the melting point is obtained between the temperatures of 178 degrees and 180 degrees centigrade.

Therefore, it is the lowest melting point compared to other major polyamides. Along with this, we can also obtain a set of mechanical properties that are useful for a large number of applications and industries.

Some of them are abrasion resistance, tensile strength, and a high level of resistance in general. Therefore, Polyamide 12 allows us to improve the functionality of many objects.

Besides, it is possible to obtain good resistance to cracking when nylon 12 is under certain tension. In the same way, this component is effectively resistant to a large number of chemicals.

Some of these have already been mentioned, and are often included in many production processes. Also, the application of Nylon 12 in different industries is increasing.

Property Value
Density 1.01 g/cm³
Surface Hardness RR105
Tensile Strength 7251.89 psi (50 MPa)
Flexural Modulus 1.4 GPA
Notched Izod 0.06 kJ/m
Elongation at Break 200%
Strain at Yield 6%
Maximum Operating Temp. 158°F (70°C)
Water Absorption 0.25%
Oxygen Index 21%
UL 94 Flammability Rating V2
Dielectric Strength 60 MV/m
Heat Distortion Temperature @ 0.45 MPa 302°F (150°C)
Heat Distortion Temperature @ 1.80 MPa 131°F (55°C)
Material Drying 2 hours @ 194°F (90°C)
Melting Temperature Range 374°F – 410°F (190°C – 210°C)
Mold Shrinkage 1.5%
Mold Temperature Range 104°F – 140°F (40°C – 60°C)

What Are The Characteristics of Nylon 12?

In particular, we can mention that the best characteristics of nylon 12 can improve the production process of a large number of products. Some of its properties are an excellent choice for ski boots, medical catheters, protective covers, sealing rings, and sheet joints.

So, we can also find the use of nylon 12 for cover caps, flexible, sprocket damping, nozzles, flexible hose, cable insulation, and cable ties. Of course, this is not a material that is as widely used as nylon 6. Beyond that, it’s different ways of obtaining it make it a highly convenient option in these times.

Among all the polyamides that are available on the market, Nylon 12 is characterized by its low concentration of amides. In particular, these are the organic compounds that contain some nitrogen among their components. That is why we can mention its best benefits for those who decide to use this element.

Here in Polyamide 12 is an excellent choice for all types of environments that have different levels of humidity which can fluctuate. Nylon 12 as mentioned above absorbs a very low degree of moisture. This is why the dimensional stability of products with nylon 12 PA is efficiently maintained.

On the other hand, another advantage of using nylon 12 is the efficient resistance to different temperatures in a room. Here it is possible to maintain a good level of durability and resistance to the absence of impact, or the different impacts. Even this characteristic is not lost in the presence of too low temperatures that are below the freezing point.

Without a doubt, Nylon 12 has been created to provide a wide range of solutions in different products. In combination with this, when it comes to chemicals, Nylon 12 is efficient here too. So, here we can include different solvents, saltwater, fats of different types, fuels, oil, and other hydraulic fluids. Also, in more than one production process, one or more of these elements are included.

Therefore, it is becoming increasingly necessary to incorporate nylon 12 in many production processes. Besides, it is possible to use this type of nylon to encapsulate certain metal components. As mentioned, Nylon 12 can resist cracking even when under high stress. Here, the level of resistance does not give way at all.

Nylon 12 also offers an adequate level of protection and resistance to abrasion. Even, to whom we must not only include the already mentioned chemicals but other factors. Beyond that, we can continue to mention its good characteristics.

You will notice that this type of nylon can offer one of the lowest coefficients of friction. So, this is useful when running dry against certain materials, such as PBT, polyacetal, or steel. This is how this component has been included in the production process of the automotive industry.

Finally, it is one of the most processable components, and it manages to reduce vibrations as well as noise. At the same time, this type of nylon offers excellent fatigue resistance in certain harsh conditions. One of the best-known conditions is high-frequency cyclic loading.

Therefore, we can find three different versions of this nylon. Each of these options is flexible, semi-flexible, and standard nylon. While these three types of nylon share many similar characteristics, the truth is that each of them offers precise and different solutions.

Advantages of Nylon 12

As mentioned, there are many useful applications for nylon 12 in many production processes. In particular, this is due to the excellent advantages obtained for various products. That is why we must name here the main advantages obtained in the production process.

  • Objects made of nylon 12 have a high level of dimensional stability. In particular, this allows them to resist poorly in all kinds of environments with humidity levels that are changing. Moisture absorption is one of the lowest.
  • Additionally, resistance to the absence of impact or impact is very efficient. Even when an object is exposed to temperatures below freezing, this advantage is not lost.
  • Also, the abrasion resistance of certain chemicals is high. Some of these are saltwater, oil, solvents, and hydraulic fluids.
  • Vibrations can be reduced and high noise levels can be dampened in general.
  • It is also a highly processable component and resists fatigue when dealing with high-frequency cyclic loading.
  • Here in Nylon 12, it has one of the lowest coefficients of friction compared to other similar components. This is highly beneficial when running dry against polyacetal or steel.

Disadvantages of Nylon 12

Here it is necessary to mention some of the disadvantages obtained by using nylon 12. It is a set of disadvantages that are similar to nylon 6 and other components.

  • In particular, this type of nylon offers little resistance to strong acids and bases.
  • When using nylon 12 in foundry applications, shrinkage is present and in high percentages.
  • Finally, the level of water and moisture absorption is very low. However, this same amount of moisture absorption weakens the mechanical properties for certain products.

Common Applications of Nylon 12

In these times it is very common to find the application of nylon 12 in products of different industries. Here we can mention some of them, such as products from the cosmetics industry, automotive industry, food industry, and other cases. In particular, it is often used as a polyamide additive.

One of the most common examples is the medical and pharmaceutical fields in various parts of the world. Especially here the insulating properties for certain drugs and similar products are useful. As a result, nylon-12 can be found in a large number of sterile bags. The properties are also used to add an insulating film to the material used for certain packaging.

This is why the food industry can protect and preserve the various foods it produces more adequately. In particular, on the one hand, food aromas are waterproofed.

This means that they are more efficiently preserved inside. The permeability to water vapor is also improved. Some common applications are:

  • Medical catheters
  • Ski boots
  • Different types of protective covers
  • Sheet metal joints
  • Sealing rings
  • Damper sprockets
  • Cable insulation

If The Product Parts Need Nylon 12 Material, How To Process?

There are 3 main methods to produce Nylon 12 parts: 3D Printing, Injection Molding, CNC Machining.

By 3D Printing

To be able to process nylon on a 3D printer you will need to have software for this. Specifically, a creation software allows you to design all kinds of objects that you will be able to obtain with the printer. So once you have designed an object you must have all the materials available for printing.

In this case, Nylon 12 can provide a host of advantages in the product you wish to print. However, it should be noted that the absorption of moisture from the air may affect the physical capabilities of Nylon 12.

By Injection Molding

As in the previous case, here too you should have a preliminary design of the product you wish to obtain. This is even an important step that will save you time and money later. There are a lot of tools and software that you can use for this purpose.

Then you must have the appropriate mold for the object you want to obtain. Here you will find different options that can offer different functionalities. Finally, you must start the manufacturing process to get the right part in the mold.

By CNC machining

As with the previous options, you must also learn to use the CNC machine software efficiently. This is one of the main steps to efficiently design the product you want to obtain.

After that, you can use nylon 12 as well as other different materials. Once you have your design and materials you can start the procedure. In a matter of moments, you will have the product designed.

Nylon 12 Compared With Other Nylon Materials

Below we will show you some differences between Nylon 12 and Nylon 6, Nylon 11, Nylon 66, Nylon 101.

Nylon 12 VS Nylon 6, what is the difference?

Here we can mention some differences between both types of nylon. On the one hand, Nylon 6 can provide a higher level of durability and strength. This is why when we look at some industries, we notice that Nylon 6 is used more often. In turn, it can offer a high level of functionality in the manufacture of various products under harsh conditions.

Similarly, functional performance tests on nylon 6 provide results more in line with more intense use. As a result, Nylon 6 can provide excellent results in both elongation, breakage, and traction. However, Nylon 12 continues to be used in several areas.

Material Nylon 12 Nylon 6
Density 1.01 g/cm³ 0.93 g/cm3
Surface Hardness RR105 SD75
Tensile Strength 7251.89 psi (50 MPa) 9800 psi (67.6 Mpa)
Notched Izod 0.06 kJ/m 0.3 kJ/m
Elongation at Break 200% 60%

Nylon 12 VS Nylon 11

On the one hand, Nylon 11 requires far fewer resources to manufacture. This is why the environmental impact is much less than when we talk about nylon 12. Thus, it is also possible to obtain a higher resistance to heat, as well as greater strength.

Besides, the level of water absorption is also one of the lowest. Also, the UV resistance is adequate. Even both types of nylon can provide similar applications. Here too, nylon 11 can efficiently resist certain chemicals, such as detergents, fuels, oils, mineral bases, alcohols, and others.

Material Nylon 12 Nylon 11
Density 1.01 g/cm³ 1.04 g/cm3
Surface Hardness RR105 RR105
Tensile Strength 7251.89 psi (50 MPa) 32000 psi (52MPa)
Notched Izod 0.06 kJ/m 2.61 kJ/m
Elongation at Break 200% 320%

Nylon 12 VS Nylon 66

When we compare nylon 12 with nylon 66, we can see that a larger budget is required to obtain the first option. In turn, Nylon 66 provides greater impact resistance, as well as higher operating temperatures. As a result, Nylon 66 is often used in some cheap and low-budget products.

It is also possible to find Nylon 66 in some carbon fiber, glass bead, or glass fiber products. Here, better results are obtained, as well as optimal thermal and mechanical performance.

As if that were not enough, both lustre and elasticity combine to offer the best use. After that, tensile strength and resistance to different factors are similar between both types of nylon.

Material Nylon 12 Nylon 66
Density 1.01 g/cm³ 1.31 g/cm3
Surface Hardness RR105 RM87
Tensile Strength 7251.89 psi (50 MPa) 8500 psi (59 MPa)
Notched Izod 0.06 kJ/m 7.13 kJ/m
Elongation at Break 200% 60%

Nylon 12 VS Nylon 101

In this case, we can find that Nylon 101 is often used in bearings and certain products that involve wearing. This is because Nylon 101 can provide a high level of resistance and durability to various usage factors.

Nylon 101 also offers heat resistance up to 210 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that both the strength and stiffness of Nylon 101 can exceed that of Nylon 12 in some respects.

Beyond that, the elongation resistance of Nylon 12 can far exceed that of Nylon 101. However, Nylon 101 can offer a much lower density than Nylon 12.

Material Nylon 12 Nylon 101
Density 1.01 g/cm³ 0.0415 g/cm3
Surface Hardness RR105 R115
Tensile Strength 7251.89 psi (50 MPa) 15000 psi
Notched Izod 0.06 kJ/m 0.32 kJ/m
Elongation at Break 200% 50%


In these times, nylon 12 can provide several advantages in the production process of different industries. However, it is not the only nylon available on the market today. Beyond that, knowing polyamide 12 allows us to consider using this component when necessary.

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Austin Peng
Co-founder of DEK
Hello! I'm Austin Peng. I manage a factory that specializes in CNC machining, injection molding, and sheet metal fabrication for small quantity production and rapid prototyping solutions. When I'm not immersed in work, I love diving into football matches, exploring new travel destinations, enjoying music, and staying updated on the latest tech trends. Feel free to chat with me about anything, whether it's work or life!


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