For aircraft to perform as optimally as possible, they must be able to have the lowest weight achievable while still upholding all necessary safety and performance objectives. One way in which this has been improved over the years is through the replacement of rubber and metal parts with lighter plastics, a trend that has risen since World War II. While plastic is stereotypically seen as “cheap” or weak, the plastic parts implemented within aircraft make them lighter, more durable, and more fuel-efficient. One example of an important switch was the introduction of the nylon washer, a component which is designed to distribute the pressure of a nut or bolt while guarding surfaces.
Nylon washers may be manufactured from a number of nylon material types, common examples including nylon 6, nylon 6/6, nylon MDS, and nytralon. As each vary in their specifications and characteristics, it is often important that one considers whether they need certain levels of chemical resistance, durability, non-flammability, abrasion resistance, etc. For example, both nytralon and nylon 6/6 are known for being self-lubricating, allowing their installation and maintenance to be quite simple. Additionally, both materials also exhibit ample heat-resistance, meaning that they can be installed near the aircraft engine. With these various capabilities, nylon washers can serve as a beneficial part while having 1/6th the density of steel.
As of the modern day, engineers and manufacturers have the ability to replace almost any small metal piece with plastic as an alternative, promoting lower assembly weights and better design flexibility. With the lowered design constraints and easier installation, labor costs and assembly errors may also be lowered with ease. Now that you are aware of the basic benefits of nylon washers, it is important to know where they are regularly used when it comes to aviation.
When considering the most popular areas in which nylon in general finds implementation, one can look to light covers, tubing, support handles, trolleys, and piping systems. For nylon washers specifically, common aircraft applications include implementation within the airframe, avionics, engine components, flight control systems, landing gear, pneumatic and hydraulic equipment, and much more. In many of these settings, the nylon washer will perform the basic role of bearing the loads of fasteners while protecting surfaces. However, they may also reduce the risk of damage as a result of vibration. In some instances, the nylon washer may also be charged with mitigating the loosening of fasteners during flight so that assemblies remain secure.
To circle back, we have now shown how nylon washers are more beneficial to the rigid steel and aluminum alternatives that predated them, presenting assemblies with higher design freedom and mechanical reliability while also promoting increased fuel efficiency. Additionally, it is important to take the time to consider your particular needs, as some nylon materials are better suited for a particular application than others. Once you have narrowed down your needs and are ready to begin the procurement process, look no further than Fasteners 360 for all your operational needs.
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