15 Major Difference between Nylon and Polyester

what is the difference between nylon and polyester?

Nylon and polyester are two common synthetic fabrics that are widely used across the world. These fabrics share some common similarities and this is the reason why many people find it hard to distinguish.

The discussion provides detailed insights into the difference between nylon and polyester with a comparison chart to make it easier for understanding.

Difference between Nylon and Polyester

What Is Nylon?

Nylon belongs to a group of synthetic polymers known as thermoplastics or aliphatic polyamides. These synthetic polymers are derived from petroleum.

Condensation polymerization is a method used to come up with nylon. Some of the popular groups of nylons are Nylon 6, Nylon 6,6, Nylon 6,8 and Nylon 6,10.

Diamines and dicarboxylic acids are the key monomers used in the formation of nylon. During the formation, the two monomers result in peptide bonds and water molecules as a byproduct.

Advantages of Nylons

  1. Highly elastic
  2. Ideal for dog beds
  3. Durable and abrasion-resistant
  4. Stain-resistant
  5. Easily cleaned
  6. Resilient
  7. Waterproof
  8. Mold and mildew resistant

Disadvantages of Nylons

  1. Fades when exposing directly to sunlight
  2. Not eco-friendly
  3. Overly shiny appearance
  4. May generate static electricity

What Is Polyester?

Polyester is a group of synthetic compounds used to describe long-chain polymers made out of ester groups. It comprises of ester, dihydric alcohol, and terephthalic acid.

The reaction between carboxylic acids and esters results in the formation of polyesters. The process of polyester formation is known as condensation which results in either saturated or unsaturated polyesters.

Saturated polyester contains saturated backbones and they tend to be less or not reactive at all. Unsaturated polyester consists of vinyl unsaturation and they tend to be very reactive.

Advantages of Polyesters

  1. Tend to be eco-friendly
  2. Durable and abrasion-resistant
  3. Easy to cleanup
  4. Mold and mildew resistant
  5. Resist stretching and shrinking
  6. Resist fading hence hold colors
  7. Resists water and dry quickly

Disadvantages of Polyesters

  1. Non-breathable
  2. Easily be stained by oils and grease

Comparison Chart: Nylon Vs Polyester

Basic TermsNylonPolyester
MeaningIt is used to describe a class of polymer molecules that are composed of polyamides.It is used to describe a class of long-chain polymers composed of ester groups in the main chain.
Chemical namePolyamidePolyethylene naphthalate
CategoryThermoplastic polymerEither thermoplastic or a thermoset polymer
MonomersDiamines and dicarboxylic acidsDicarboxylic acids and diols.
Nitrogen AtomsPresentAbsent
WearabilityLow moisture absorbencyWrinkle resistant
DurabilityExceptional strong and abrasion-resistantStrong and abrasion-resistant
FlammabilityMelts then burns rapidlyMelts and burns at same time
Environmental impactNon-eco-friendlyEco-friendly
ComfortLightweight and breathableLightweight and non-breathable
AppearanceLustrous and fade when exposing to sunlightSlick and hold colors
Worldwide ProductionApproximately 3.9 million metric tons, 11% of synthetic fiber productionApproximately 21 million metric tons, 58% of synthetic fiber production
UV ResistanceSomewhatVery

Core Difference Between Nylon and Polyester

  1. Nylon is a class of polymers used to describe molecules that consist of polyamides while polyester is long-chain polymers that consist of ester groups.
  2. Nylon has a chemical name of polyamides while polyester has a chemical name of polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
  3. The category of nylon is thermoplastic polymer while that of polyester is either thermoplastic or a thermoset polymer.
  4. The monomers of nylon are diamines and dicarboxylic acids while that of polyester are dicarboxylic acids and diols.
  5. Nylon tends to contain nitrogen group unlike polyester
  6. Nylon is highly affected by UV rays while polyester is highly resistant to UV rays
  7. The appearance of nylon is lustrous while that of polyester is slightly slick
  8. The wearability of nylon is low moisture absorbency while polyester is wrinkle resistance.
  9. Nylon tends to be non-eco-friendly while polyester is eco-friendly
  10. Nylon tends to melt then burn while polyester melt and burn at the same time
  11. Nylon is resistant to damage of oil and grease while polyester is resistant to chemical damage
  12. Nylon is made out of petroleum while polyesters are made out of coal, air, water, and petroleum products.
  13. Nylon tends to be soft and breathable while polyester tend to be smooth and non-breathable
  14. Nylons are manufactured as a liquid, mechanically spun, and dried into individual fibers while polyesters are manufactured as spun into the thread from the chemical solution.
  15. Worldwide production of nylon is about 3.9 million metric tons while polyester is around 21 million metric tons

Read More: Difference between Natural and Synthetic Polymers

Core Similarities between Nylon and Polyester

  1. Both are synthetic fibers
  2. Both are strong and wear-resistant
  3. Both are made through condensation polymerization
  4. Both produce water molecules as a byproduct during synthesis
  5. Both play a vital role in different industry

Comparison Video


The core difference between nylon and polyester is that nylon is a class of polymers that consist of polyamides while polyester is used to describe a long-chain polymers that consist of ester groups.

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