A fastener is a device used to mechanically connect two objects. Examples include screws, nails, nuts, bolts, washers
, anchors, and rivets. They are not permanent in that they can be unscrewed, loosened, and taken apart. The advantage of fastening two objects together rather than welding them is that the separate components can be replaced and maintained more easily. Different fasteners provide different amounts of strength, but there is also more to consider when purchasing fasteners for varying applications.
are an example of nylon hardware, which is made from plastic materials such as polyvinyl chloride or PVC, acetal, and polypropylene. Nylon hardware in the form of screws, nuts, bolts, washers, and other fastening devices has become increasingly popular due to its ability to insulate and resist corrosion. Since nylon is a non-conductor, nylon fasteners do not conduct nor waste electricity. Corrosion particularly plagues metal fasteners by quickly wearing them down so corrosion-resistant materials are in high demand. Without metal fasteners, machines may function longer without falling apart or needing repairs.
Additionally, nylon is lightweight compared to metal yet still highly durable, and many manufacturers
enjoy the large selection of product designs. In aerospace technology, nylon hardware reduces aircraft weight and reduces fuel usage. As the appeal around nylon hardware grows, it is important to consider the limitations of
nylon fasteners across different industries.
While nylon fasteners are durable, they are not strong enough to withstand the demanding functions of many engineering projects, such as construction. Additionally, nylon fasteners should not be used in a circumstance where they risk getting wet because they are hygroscopic. This means that they easily take in water from the surrounding environment, which causes them to swell and eventually deteriorate. Another major drawback of using nylon fasteners in any project is that they cannot withstand temperatures higher than 121 degrees Celsius. In general, this means that metal fasteners should be used for any device that requires heating during use; however some nylon materials, such as Nylatron, function well in high heats. Lastly, nylon is very vulnerable to chemicals and UV rays, meaning these fasteners should not be used in environments with excessive sun exposure.
Within aerospace technology, users can benefit from the low costs and high variety associated with nylon hardware by purchasing nylon washers and fasteners for air frames, engine parts
, hydraulics, landing gears, and a few other aspects of aircraft. For parts of aircraft that function continuously, nylon fasteners may be a better option than metal fasteners because their lighter weight allows them to endure more movement while holding two pieces of machinery together. Nylon fasteners have some drawbacks, but they should be considered for use in many parts of aerospace technologies as they are highly customizable and can significantly reduce costs.
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