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Using Nylon Tubing For Compressed Air

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Nylon tube is widely used in the pneumatics industry for piping pneumatic circuits. This article will provide you with all the relevant information on Nylon for compressed air.

Table of Contents

Nylon Background

Nylon was the first commercially successful polymer, originally synthesised in 1935. Nylon is light, strong, and resistant to corrosion. It is very flexible and resistant to moisture which is why you will find it used in a wide variety of industries and applications.

Nylon Tubing for Compressed Air

Nylon is regarded highly for its exceptional stability, mechanical strength, and resistance to chemical corrosion. Due to this, nylon is considered to be one of the most versatile engineering materials available.

Nylon boasts great temperature resistance, making it suitable for high and low temperatures. When used as a compressed air piping material, nylon tubing is resistant to cracking and is very stable under heat and light.

Its most significant advantage is that it is relatively inexpensive. The close tolerance of the tube makes it ideal for use with push-in type and compression-type fittings, making it very easy to install. Regardless of the material being used for compressed air, the easier it is to install, the easier it will be to repair and conduct maintenance.

Leaks in compressed air can be costly, a small 1/8″ hole in a system operating at 100 PSI can cost more than $1000 per year in wasted energy. Therefore, it is important to consider the time and energy that is used to maintain a system and fix leaks, which is why nylon is a good choice of material.

Below is an example of some nylon tubing for compressed air readily available on Amazon!

Nylon Tubing for Compressed Air Benefits

Nylon tubing is tough, light, and dimensionally stable. It can be formulated for higher-pressure pneumatics, flexibility for routing in tight spaces, high flexural fatigue resistance, and low water absorption.

Nylon is naturally hygroscopic, meaning that it tends to absorb moisture. The compounds used in compressed air tubing generally keep the absorption rate to under 1 percent. Surge pressure then must be under the maximum operating pressure. If the value is exceeded, the fittings may be damaged and the tubing may burst.

Other features and benefits include:

  • Lightweight wall – nylon tubing is very light, making it easier to work with.
  • Corrosion resistance – resistant to salt, chemicals, and other corrosive materials
  • Chemical resistance – additional chemical resistance to chemicals like solvents, alkalis, oils, petroleum, and fungal growth
  • Temperature resistance – ability to withstand both cold and hot temperatures
  • Stress-cracking resistance – UV stabilization which means it can be used outdoors in direct sunlight
  • Smaller bend radius – improved flexibility and ability to be used in complex designs

Nylon is very easy to change the color of and this can be done simply by modifying a few pigments. Coloring nylon air tubes does not compromise their integrity, so you can opt to color-code different lines and make it easy to find what each tube connects to.

An example: you may want all tubes that terminate at a particular piece of equipment to have red lines while another tool might have yellow or green ones. This can make disassembling an air circuit for later repair a lot easier and quicker.

Nylon Tubing for Compressed Air Specifications

The values of the maximum operation pressure are at a temperature of 68°F (20°C). Always ensure that you refer to the burst pressure characteristics curve whenever you’re dealing with greater or lower temperatures.

You should avoid abnormal temperature rises which may burst the piping. The values of the minimum bending radii are also at a temperature of 68°F, and the outside diameter variable rate is 10 percent max. In a situation where the operating temperature is higher than 68°F, the outside diameter variable rate may be over 10 percent even if the bending radius is within its specified range.

If you’re looking for more concrete numbers, consider the following specifications of nylon tubing for compressed air:

Temperature range: -4°F to 140°F
Maximum operating pressure: 220 PSI (at 68°F)
Hardness: Shore D 70

Note: The specifications provided are just an example, you will be able to find nylon tubing with greater temperature ranges and maximum operating pressures.

In most situations, these are suitable specifications for nylon tubing for compressed air. You should be able to obtain these tubes in a number of different diameters to suit your requirements. Those who need large tubes can find 1/2″ tubes while those looking to connect air compressors to small tools can look for tubes as small as 5/32″!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is nylon tubing good for compressed air?

Yes, nylon’s combination of high-pressure rating, high flow rate, flexibility, and toughness make it the ideal choice for most compressed air systems.

What is nylon tubing used for?

Nylon tubing is most commonly found in the pneumatics industry for piping pneumatic systems. The close tolerance of the tube makes it ideal for use with push-in type and compression-type fittings. Nylon tub is also commonly used for air brake systems on vehicles.

How flexible is nylon tubing?

Nylon is not the most flexible plastic on the market but is certainly one of the most flexible materials used for compressed air tubing. Nylon has high flexural fatigue and allows itself to be used for routing in tight spaces.

Additional Reading:

If you have any questions regarding using nylon tubing for compressed air, please leave a comment below, with a photo if applicable, so that someone can help you!

By Aidan Weeks

A passionate Mechanical Engineer with endless enthusiasm for fluid power - building off the back of over 18 years of high quality contribution and discussion stimulated by Bill Wade here at About Air Compressors. With both practical and theoretical experience in pneumatics and hydraulics, I'm putting my knowledge to work - and working my grey-matter through my research, assistance and publishing work here at About Air Compressors. Feel free to reach out any time! P.S. A HUGE shout out to Doug who really offers such great value to all visitors to About Air Compressors - once again, feeling like I'm standing on the shoulders of GIANTS by getting to work alongside such a great community

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