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Polyurethane vs. nylon tubing

Updated July 20, 2017

Polyurethane and nylon tubing are important elements of even the most basic pneumatic systems. Though both offer an economic alternative to traditional reinforced hose, knowing the differences between them will dramatically improve the efficiency of your system.

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Naturally flexible, polyurethane has better flexing abilities than nylon. Though nylon can endure repeated flexing without fatigue, polyurethane is more suitable for applications when a tighter bend radius is needed. It is thus better suited for tight bending in and through equipment, such as in robotics and pneumatic control machinery.

Abrasion and Working Pressure

Both polyurethane and nylon tubing have excellent resistance to abrasion from fuels, oils and abrasion; however, nylon offers better heat and chemical resistance as well as higher working pressure. Nylon has superior crack resistance and is thus an industrial standard for applications requiring greater resistance to chemicals, heat and working pressure.


Polyurethane tubing is commonly used in medium pressure applications such as solid, liquid and gaseous dispensing and fuel line and wire abrasion protection. Nylon is a common choice in hydraulic lines and refrigeration, air conditioning systems, fuel and oil transfer and chemical transport.

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About the Author

Yasmeen Noor has been writing professionally since 2007. Her articles have appeared in the "Riverside Press Enterprise," "The Tennesseean" and the "San Bernardino Sun." Noor holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in political science, history and film from University of California, Los Angeles.

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