Which is more durable nylon or phenolic plastic?
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    Default Which is more durable nylon or phenolic plastic?

    Hi everyone

    I'm looking for spacers for a printed circuit board. They need to be vibration and shock resistant and non-conductive. There seems to be a lot of nylon and phenolic options available, but I can't find much information about phenolic plastic. Please can you tell me if nylon or phenolic is more durable?

    Harry

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    If you're talking about a reinforced phenolic, then use it. If there's any significant loading or shock, it should be almost as robust as the circuit board material, and more resistant to environmental factors (humidity). And you don't have to worry about cold flow.

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    Which type of phenolic? paper or cloth? weave size of cloth? etc etc …………. and that's before we get to the resin type.

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    why not make the spacers from the same circuit board material ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    why not make the spacers from the same circuit board material ?
    Because then the circuit board won't work anymore. It's almost as bad at letting the magic smoke out.

    Geez, go figure!!

    [The preceding was satire and/or humor, or at least an attempt at it. Send all complaints to: [email protected]. Please allow at least twelve days for your missive to be tossed in the bit bucket. If you've inadvertently sent the misses by accident, return postage will be required.]

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    why not make the spacers from the same circuit board material ?
    Because he's looking for an off the shelf part?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harrycrowther View Post
    Hi everyone

    I'm looking for spacers for a printed circuit board. They need to be vibration and shock resistant and non-conductive. There seems to be a lot of nylon and phenolic options available, but I can't find much information about phenolic plastic. Please can you tell me if nylon or phenolic is more durable?

    Harry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    Because he's looking for an off the shelf part?
    He did ask on a "Machining/Machinist" forum.....

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    Unless there are some special circumstances, either would work just fine.

    Tom

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    Either would work but nylon is tougher. I'd use something like these: Buy Threaded Spacers | 500,000+ Components | Accu(R)

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    I worked for the Dept. of Defense for 40 years as an electronics tech and we used plastics and aluminum, sometimes in combination, if the traces were too close to the stand offs so that they would not short to ground.
    Karl

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    Both aluminum and stainless steel hex spacers are common, assuming they don't short to the traces or violate clearance rules for CE and the like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerCrossley View Post
    Either would work but nylon is tougher. I'd use something like these: Buy Threaded Spacers | 500,000+ Components | Accu(R)
    I suppose it varies with the composition of either, but I've seen phenolic gears run decades over what any nylon would do if paired with the same components and run under similar loads.

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    My question is why does it have to be durable? What's the application?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Heaton View Post
    I suppose it varies with the composition of either, but I've seen phenolic gears run decades over what any nylon would do if paired with the same components and run under similar loads.
    +1 on this. Do you remember the old GM cam gears? I replaced many of them. Definitely not one of their brighter ideas.

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    Nylon is a good mechanical material when its wet. By wet I mean that it has absorbed water, up to 2.5% by weight. A hot engine environment will dry it out and make it brittle.

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by crazygoat View Post
    +1 on this. Do you remember the old GM cam gears? I replaced many of them. Definitely not one of their brighter ideas.
    Yup. That's one example I was thinking of. Between 1968 & 1981 I sold auto parts at NAPA. There were some timing gears in that era that were phenolic. They'd wear out, but seemed on average to last much longer than the nylon junk. Granted, most of the nylon timing sets I dealt with were nylon over cast iron chain sprockets while most of the phenolic sets were spur gears. Nevertheless, it was obvious that nylon was an inferior material for that use and environment.

    Another example is the toggle gears on my Sheldon lathe. Barring crashes, the phenolic gears last as long as brass, perhaps longer while others' attempts to use nylon have not yielded good results under heavy use.

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    Nylon may take a "set", meaning that it can "creep" to reduce the pressure on it. That is not much of an issue for a snap-in type standoff, but for a nylon tube with a screw through it, may be an issue in some circumstances. It is a thermoplastic, so the properties, including the tendency to creep, depend on temperature to a relatively large degree.

    Phenolic is "thermoset", meaning that it becomes a solid that is much less temperature dependent. So it has somewhat less tendency to "creep", or loosen up if put under pressure.

    That said, nylon may be more flexible, and thus "tougher" for impact, while phenolic can be much more resistant to wear. even with moderate impact. (as with the gears) I doubt either of those are important for a printed circuit board, unless you are holding up a heatsink with the standoff.


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