This guide contains all the information you need to know about nylon brushes.
You will learn more about topics such as:
- What is a nylon brush?
- How nylon brushes are made
- Types of nylon filaments
- Types of nylon brushes
- And much more …
Chapter 1: What is a Nylon Brush?
A nylon brush is a brush that has nylon polymer filaments that are exceptionally tough, strong, flexible, and have excellent elasticity. The various types of nylon filaments, which are durable and abrasion resistant, are the most commonly used fiber for the manufacture of brushes. The strength and endurance of nylon bristled brushes is due to their ability to withstand extreme heat (up to 350o F) and their resistance to chemicals.
The term “nylon” is a generic designation given to synthetic polymers, which are an organic thermoplastic known as polyamide nylon. Since its introduction by the DuPont corporation in 1938, nylon has rapidly grown in its use as a versatile synthetic fiber that has a wide variety of applications.
Chapter 2 – How Nylon Brushes are Made
The basic structure of a nylon brush includes the nylon filaments and some form of handle. In the manufacturing process, the two components are united and secured together to form a practical and useful tool. The differentiation between the various types of nylon brushes relates to the types of handles and how the nylon filaments are shaped and formed.
The manufacture of nylon brushes includes multiple methods, techniques, and processes, with each process designed to produce a specific type of brush. Though bristles with a handle is the typical design of a brush, ones that are designed for industrial use have several different methods for connecting and securing the filaments.
How Nylon Brushes are Made
When designing a nylon brush, the first step is to determine the type of filaments to use, which will determine the type of brush and its application. Common nylon filaments are nylon 6, nylon 66, nylon 610, nylon 612, nylon 11, and nylon 12. Each of the different filaments has a different abrasive capacity and grit; these include silicone carbide, aluminum oxide, and aluminum silicate. The brush filling is the most important part of the design of the brush, and it determines the application for which it can be used.
The various types of handles have an influence on how the brush will be used, with some varieties utilizing metal cups that can be attached to electronic equipment, while others have simple wooden handles. Most industrial brushes have metal handles so they can endure the abuse they receive during use. Nylon brushes for cleaning and cosmetics have plastic, metal, wire, or wooden handles. Types of handles vary as widely as the types of brushes.
There are several types of assembly methods for attaching the filaments to the handle. The size of the brush, the spacing of the filaments, and the material from which the handle is made determine how they will be connected. The main goal of the assembly process is securely fitting the filaments to the handle to avoid any failure such as filaments falling out during use.
Wood Handle – Filaments that are placed in a wood handle are bundled together in multiple small batches. To prepare the handle, several evenly spaced holes are drilled on one side of a large flat surface of shaped wood. In assembly operations, the holes are accurately and precisely drilled by a programmed machine, which also places the filaments. The diagram below shows a beard nylon brush before the filaments are added and after.
Plastic Handle – The process of attaching filaments to plastic handles can be like the ones used for wooden handles. In some cases, the filaments are more securely attached by adding them when the plastic material is still pliable and soft. The solidification process ensures a tight fit.
Metal Handles – There is a wide variety of shapes and designs of metal handles, including channel, typical handles, wire, and tube like shapes. With channel and tube handles, the filaments are compressed into place under pressure. For wire brushes, a piece of wire is doubled over. The filaments are placed between the folds of the stem. The wire stem is twisted to form the brush.
No Handle – In manufacturing, cleaning, and product finishing, there are several types of brushes that attach directly to power tools or cleaning equipment. The different configurations include cylinders of various sizes, large flat ovals, wheel shapes, centerless cylinders, cup brushes with or without a shank, and others.
Chapter 3: Types of Nylon Filaments
The nylon filaments in industrial, commercial, and home use brushes are adaptable for any type of scrubbing, cleaning, deburring, and finishing applications regardless of whether they are in wet or dry environments. The various types of filaments have abrasion resistance, low water absorption, excellent bend recovery, resistance to all cleaners, and can clean or remove weak acids.
There are several varieties of nylon to choose from for the manufacturing of nylon brushes, from ones that are soft and pliable, to ones that are as rigid and stiff as metal. The wide selection of nylon filaments offers brush manufacturers an array of choices to fit any application or condition.
Types of Nylon Filaments
The properties of nylon brushes are related to their bristle grade, length, and diameter. The grades of nylon begin with nylon 6 and include 66, 610, 612, 11, 12, and others. The numerical designation is an indication of the number of carbon atoms in the monomer used to produce the nylon filaments. The unique properties of nylon are due to the ratio of carbon atoms. Each of these types have properties and characteristics to fit specific conditions with differences dependent on grit, abrasion, toughness, and water absorption.
Nylon 6 has all of the qualities and characteristics of any type of nylon, which include hardness, stiffness, and toughness with dampening and insulation characteristics. The choice of nylon 6 for brushes is due to its machinability and easy workability into any form. In the case of brushes for home use, nylon 6 maintains a lustrous appearance and finish.
Nylon 6.6 or 66
Nylon 66 has a higher melting temperature than nylon 6 up to 180o C. It has low creep, excellent recovery, and exceptional resistance to abrasion. The two characteristics of resistance to heat and abrasion have made it an excellent choice for brushes for industrial applications.
A main use for nylon 66 is dry industrial applications where chemicals are not present. It loses a portion of its stiffness when exposed to water.
Of the various types of nylon filaments, nylon 610 has the lowest moisture absorption and is tougher and stronger. When exposed to low temperatures, it retains its toughness and its resistance to the effects of cleaners, solvents, and diluted mineral acids. The quality of nylon 610 is between nylon 66 and nylon 612.
Nylon 612 is a high performance nylon filament with significant resistance to water absorption, petroleum products, and other chemicals. The mechanical properties of nylon 612 allow it to be shaped and fitted to a wide variety of applications. It has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in food processing and in the production of products for medical use.
Nylon 11 is made from vegetable oil and is a rare bio-based plastic that comes mainly from the castor plant. When compared to other types of nylon, nylon 11 has a number of advantages, which include low water absorption, UV resistance, exceptional strength, and heat resistance; it is also unaffected by environmental factors. It has exceptional impact strength, especially at temperatures below freezing, as well as dimensional stability.
Nylon 12 has many of the characteristics of nylon 11 and is made from petroleum. It has a low impact rating with excellent resistance to abrasion and UV rays. As with nylon 11, nylon 12 has the lowest water absorption of all of the nylon filaments. The main reason for its use as filaments for brushes is its resistance to chemicals such as greases, fuels, and solvents, and salt solutions or water. Its noise and vibration damping properties make it ideal for noise suppression applications.
Chapter 4: Types of Nylon Brushes
The ability of nylon to be adapted, shaped, and configured for any type of brush has made it the primary material in brush manufacturing. Much of its use is due to the many different varieties of nylon, which make it possible to produce nylon brushes for gentle use as well as ones for heavy duty abrasive use.
The properties of nylon brushes make them capable of withstanding the harshest conditions but remaining resilient. This single factor is why manufacturers rely on nylon filaments for producing high quality durable brushes.
Types of Nylon Brushes
Scrubbers for Floor Machines
The characteristics of nylon that makes it ideal for floor scrubbers is its resistance to abrasion and excellent bend recovery. These qualities give it a long wear life and the capability to clean rough surfaces such as concrete floors and parking lots.
Abrasive cylinder brushes provide aggressive cleaning with flexibility and conformability. The grit for cylinder nylon brushes can be 46 coarse, which is exceptionally aggressive, or very fine at a 600 grit. The shafts of cylinder brushes can be solid or tubular with the flexibility for reloading or refilling the filaments.
Common uses for wheel brushes are deburring, edge blending, and final surface finishing. Nylon wheel brushes are safe, non-reactive, and are an excellent alternative to traditional wheel brushes. They are available in a wide assortment of diameters with centers made of copper or steel with or without shanks.
Cup brushes serve a similar function as wheel brushes. They are smaller and come in diameters of one, two, or three inches. Depending on the density and rigidity of the nylon filaments, they can be used for light deposit removal or as a high speed angle grinder.
Twisted Wire Brushes
As with all brushes, there are several varieties of twisted wire brushes that vary according to the application. Single stem tube brushes are for hand use and have a wire handle of 6 to 16 inches. Double stem tube brushes are used with power tools for aggressive brushing, while burr removal versions are shorter with a brush of around an inch.
Nylon strip brushes have the simplest design with a metal channel with nylon filaments compressed or glued in the channel. They have a long life, are abrasion resistant, have low water absorption, excellent bend recovery, resistance to cleaning solvents, and are unaffected by weak acids. Strip brushes are made from nylon 612 with steel, stainless steel, or aluminum alloy channels. They are used for conveyor cleaning, applying coatings, static prevention, or as a means of sweeping away loose debris.
The many types of nylon hand brushes include scratch, channel, welder, toothbrush style channel, platers, acid swab, chip, parts cleaners, scrub, whisk, grill, street, broom, flat wires, and more. The common hand brush has been around for thousands of years. Modern manufacturers, using technologically advanced methods, have enhanced these common tools to offer a hand brush to fit every condition, application, or environment. An amazing factor regarding brush producers is the capability to custom make and design brushes for unique and unusual applications.
The image below is a small sampling of the many types of industrial hand brushes available to fit several applications.
Chapter 5: Uses for Nylon Brushes
Nylon brushes can be found in every type of operation from ones that can clean your teeth to ones designed to remove rust, paint, grime, and contaminants. The wide use of nylon brushes is due to their many grades, grit types, configurations, and mechanical properties.
Designers use nylon as the basis for the engineering of brushes since nylon can withstand constant use without losing its strength. It can be shaped, molded, and configured into any style and still retain its initial properties and characteristics.
Uses for Nylon Brushes
An abrasive nylon brush has an abrasive grain, making it ideal for deburring and finishing applications. The varieties of abrasive nylon brushes include end, disc, and wheel brushes. Abrasive brushes have nylon 612 filaments, which have a high abrasion capacity, chemical resistance, flexibility to be used on non-plane surfaces, and long lasting durability.
Nylon brushes for washing are used to scrub, dust, and remove deposits from vehicles, materials, equipment, and machinery. They come in a wide variety of styles, from those designed to be used by hand to those that can be attached to large cleaning devices. The nature of the application determines the types of filaments; pliable filaments are used on delicate materials while more aggressive filaments are used for larger heavy duty work.
Cleaning nylon brushes are the ones that we are accustomed to seeing and using. They can be found in homes, offices, factories, and retail operations as a means for removing messes and keeping surfaces free of spills. The types of nylon cleaning brushes encompass the common broom and push broom as well as block brushes and wire brushes. Regardless of the cleaning job, there is a brush designed to meet the need.
The types of application brushes run the full gamut of brush design, from artist brushes with a few filaments to very sturdy and heavy duty nylon brushes with metal tube handles for the application of acids and coatings. They are used to apply coatings and fluids to a surface as part of a project and are designed to fit into small difficult to reach spaces. In recent years, applicator brushes have found wide use in the electronics industry for work with delicate and fragile components.
Polishing nylon brushes are less abrasive or aggressive. They are designed to apply a liquid to a surface to enhance its appearance and give it a finished quality. The types of filaments depend on the surface to be finished with more aggressive designs for polishing stainless steel and metals. The uses for nylon polishing brushes vary, from brushes for working on large objects such as cars to more precise brushes for polishing silverware and jewelry.
The conductive properties of nylon brushes make them ideal for removing static holding dust or powder. Removing the static charge makes it possible to use conventional mechanical means for cleaning components. The length of filaments on static nylon brushes varies from a few inches up to 50 inches. Depending on the application, static nylon brushes can be permanently attached or handheld. Static nylon brushes solve one of the more difficult problems regarding the handling of powders and the hazards related to dusty environments.
Pipe cleaning nylon brushes are used in a variety ways for cleaning the inner and outer surfaces of pipes, tubes, and cylinders. They are made of highly durable and rugged nylon filaments, making them ideal for cleaning hard to reach spaces such as pipe elbows, tees, and valves. The rigid durability of nylon filaments make them ideal for cleaning the rough, uneven surfaces of pipes.
The design of conveyor cleaning brushes has to fit the type of material from which the conveyor is constructed, which can be urethane, rubber, or wire mesh. The common type of conveyor cleaning brush is a cylinder brush that can scrub and dust the belt. The use of nylon filaments is due to their low water absorption and excellent bend recovery, which is a necessity for conveying systems that are in constant operation.
Nylon filaments 612 are used for conveyors at food processing plants, while 66 is used for normal duty conveyor applications. Nylon 66 has a higher moisture absorption rate, which restricts its use in food processing and medical instrument production.
Wood distressing is a process used to age and weather a wood surface to give it depth and texture. Nylon brushes with a grit of 46 are an adaptable choice for removing soft grain to create a rustic look. Different types of filaments are utilized to achieve particular patterns and appearances. For sanding purposes, a variety of nylon grits and rated nylon filaments are available to achieve the same surface finish created by sandpaper.
Chapter 6: Industries That Use Nylon Brushes
Nylon brushes are an essential part of innumerable industrial processes that include aerospace, agriculture, automotive, firearms, food processing, medical supplies and instruments, and glass processing, among others. Regardless of the operation or application, a nylon brush is used to clean, finish, coat, or remove static and contaminants.
The uses of brushes in industry have moved far beyond their initial use as a means of cleaning the floor. Manufacturers are constantly finding new, unique, and innovative ways to use brushes to assist in the completion of manufacturing processes.
Industries That Use Nylon Brushes
In the construction of aircraft, nylon brushes are used for deburring aluminum engine heads, flatting surfaces on engine parts, and smoothing hydraulic components.
Brushes in the agriculture industry are used to improve yield and seeding efficiency. Nylon brushes are used to move seed and soil gently and uniformly. Rotary brushes help in harvesting, cleaning, and defoliating. Staple set brushes work to gently move seed and handle crops. Strip brushes seal tractor cabs, doors, windows, and controls.
The main purpose for nylon brushes in the firearm industry is for keeping the firearms clean, safe, and reliable. Nylon brushes are used for light cleaning or scrubbing for the removal of hard set materials, metal flakes, loose metals, and debris for optimal performance, safety, and effectiveness.
In glass processing, nylon brushes are used to round sharp edges, remove glass fragments, and condition glass surfaces. The conditioning process is designed to remove loose glass fragments that can contaminate glass coatings and optical properties.
The use of nylon brushes for the production of military equipment is very similar to the processes used for aerospace, which include deburring and smoothing edges, the flatting and smoothing of surfaces on engines and heavy duty equipment, and smoothing of hydraulic cylinders. For further safety, brushes are used to seal consoles, windows, and doors on gun turrets and mobile defense equipment.
Nylon strip brushes are widely used for weather stripping due to their ability to endure harsh conditions and their long life. For applications where there are extreme temperature changes, nylon filaments have proven to be more durable and resilient than other stripping materials. Since nylon comes in a variety of filament types, it can be easily adapted to fit any set of weather conditions.
Nylon anti-static brushes are a necessity in the electronics industry for protection against electrostatic charge sensitive products. Roller nylon brushes are used for cleaning, polishing, and deburring circuit boards and electronic components. Anti-static brushes are referred to as electrostatic discharge or ESD brushes and serve as static eliminators.
There are a variety of uses for nylon brushes in the printing industry, beginning with the cleaning of printing plates to remove any excess or residual material on the plate that could significantly affect a print run. During a print run, the equipment produces substantial static electricity that can spark. In this instance, nylon brushes are used to reduce particulate contamination and static charges. Roller brushes are also used to move, secure, or straighten print materials and supplies.
- A nylon brush is a form of brush that has nylon polymer filaments that are exceptionally tough, strong, flexible, and have excellent elasticity.
- The descriptive term “nylon” is a generic designation given to synthetic polymers, which are an organic thermoplastic known as polyamide nylon.
- The basic structure of a nylon brush includes the nylon filaments and some form of handle. In the manufacturing process, the two components are united and secured together to form a practical and useful tool.
- The nylon filaments in industrial, commercial, and home use brushes are adaptable for any type of scrubbing, cleaning, deburring, and finishing applications regardless of whether they are in wet or dry environments.
- The ability of nylon to be adapted, shaped, and configured for any type of brush has made it the primary material in brush manufacturing.