Understanding Nylon and Polyester Mesh Properties


Component Supply’s stock of filter mesh is a versatile material used in multiple industries and in a variety of applications. To assist researchers and product designers in choosing the best mesh for their applications, we want to define and explain the different properties of our mesh and how they impact each other.

There are seven major attributes of mesh: 1) mesh opening, 2) open area, 3) mesh count, 4) thread diameter, 5) weight, 6) thickness and 7) air permeability. At Component Supply, we don’t list weight, thickness or air permeability in our product information because, unlike the first four specifications, these three are not typically relevant in determining mesh use most applications. However, to give you a full picture of mesh properties, we will provide a simple definition for those terms as well.

Mesh Attributes

1)     Mesh Opening refers to the actual size of the opening. In the charts on our site, this is measured in microns. Mesh opening is typically the most critical attribute because it determines the size of the particles it will capture and the size of the particles it allows to pass through. This attribute is specified in microns, which is a metric measurement equaling one thousandth of a millimeter.


2)   Open area indicates the percentage of a specified area that is open. Open area can help determine what sort of flow restrictions might occur because of the filter. If we take a square piece of mesh screening that is exactly one inch by one inch and move all the lateral and horizontal fibers (warp and weft – we will cover this in another post or video) up and to one side we will be left with some part of the square that is solid (covered by the threads) and some part that is now open. With a mesh that has a 25% open area the square inch will be segmented into four parts, three (75%) will be covered by the threads and one (25%) will be open.


3)     Mesh count is the number of threads in a linear inch and is fairly easy to determine. For example, if you were to lay out a piece of mesh and place a ruler on top, then count the horizontal threads from the beginning of the ruler to the one inch mark that would give you the mesh count. Of course, this is a simple task for mesh sizes like 1000 microns, which has 19 threads per inch. But it is daunting or even flat out impossible for some of the smaller mesh sizes. For mesh sizes down to about 200 microns you can count, or at least count one quarter of an inch and multiply. For sizes much smaller than that, it becomes difficult without some magnifications and a good bit of patience.

4)     Thread diameter is the diameter of the thread measured in microns.

mesh-001-thread diameter

5)     Weight is the weight of the material typically measured in ounces per square inch.

6)     Thickness is the overall thickness of the mesh and measured in microns.

7)     Air permeability measures the rate of air flow passing perpendicularly through the mesh and, for our mesh, is measured liters (l)/square meter (sq. m.)/second (s).

The Relationship between Mesh Attributes

When selecting the appropriate mesh for an application it is important to know how these attributes are related to each other. Let’s use an example of mesh that has a 500 micron mesh opening, a 50% open area, a thread count of 20 and a thread diameter of 250 microns. If we were to change just one of these attributes, it would completely alter the product you’d be using. For example, if we decreased the thread diameter but left the mesh count constant, we would wind up with a larger mesh opening and open area. If we needed to capture smaller particles with a smaller mesh size, but wanted a similar open area for flow restriction reasons you could find a mesh that has the same thread diameter and a higher mesh count, or you could find a mesh that has an increased thread diameter and keep the thread count constant.


Understanding the attributes of mesh and how they relate, makes selecting it for a specific application less daunting. That being said there are not an infinite number of possibilities available. This mesh is woven on looms that produce as much as 10,000 meters at a time, so only very large filtration and screen printing applications get to “choose” what they really want in terms of mesh properties. While there may be other sizes, and we encourage you to ask about them, the specifications on our site represent most of what is available. Understanding the properties of mesh and how they are related and then purchasing based on that information is more effective and realistic than trying to customize your own mesh.


How to Determine What Size Nylon Mesh You Have

We get calls every day with engineers and researchers looking to replace some nylon mesh or filtration screening in an application or apparatus. Unfortunately many users do not know what size mesh they actually have and some do not know if it is nylon mesh or polyester mesh. Determining the material is more difficult and the specific application can narrow that down. But determining the size is the challenge. Our mesh is monofilament woven mesh with a plain weave. We won’t get into this, but this is typically what you will find. When someone wants to know the size of the mesh, they are typically referring to the opening size. This is the size of the opening that will determine what will pass through and what will be filtered out. It would be nice to just measure this, but 100 microns is right at 0.004″ so measuring with any real degree of accuracy is not a suitable course of action.

Enter the “mesh count”. The mesh count is basically the number of threads, or openings, per inch. While this can still be challenging, the trick here is to realize that you will never get it exactly right. for example, if you count 50 threads in 1/2 inch it would be safe to double that to get a thread count of 100. The reason is that when you go to our chart you will find coma mesh sizes with a mesh count close to 100, but you will typically not find an exact match. That is ok, you are just trying to narrow it down. This exercise will narrow your search down to probably less than six sizes. Also remember that a sheet of standard copy paper is about 100 microns thick, so 10 to 20 microns one way or another will not impact most applications. If your application has specific sizes and is it critical to match what you are currently using, please contact us and let us work with you to determine the size nylon mesh.

How Big/Small is a Micron?


Several Industries Use Polyester Mesh for Different Applications

Polyester mesh is manufactured from various polymers, with polyethylene terephthalate being the most common. There are natural occurring polyesters and some synthetic compositions which are biodegradable. However, most of the synthetic types you find are not biodegradable. As a result, this makes this material ideally suited for a variety of environments and applications. Additionally, it is commonly found being used in industries including pharmaceutical, aquaculture, agriculture, manufacturing, food processing, and printing.

Some of the more common applications for polyester mesh include:

  • Fluid filtration
  • Flour sifting
  • Juicing applications
  • Substrates for starting oysters
  • Separating early stage lobster
  • Plankton nets
  • Decorating ceramics
  • Air filtration
  • Printing on textiles
  • Printing graphics on a variety of materials, including glass and plastics
  • Printing on electronics

Selecting the right size mesh involves knowing the exact size openings you require for your applications. The mesh openings allow fluids and other materials to easily pass through, while blocking out others. Mesh opening sizes available range from 41 microns to 810 microns. The screening is commonly ordered by yard, with widths ranging from 40 inches, up to 60 inches. When ordering in smaller amounts, widths are less. For example, the dimensions of a ¼ yard piece of mesh are approximately 18 inches by 20 inches. Additionally, you have the option of custom ordering this product already cut to your specific dimensions or desired shape in the preferred mesh opening. For instance, you may need the mesh cut into a circle with a 2 inch diameter, with a mesh opening of 160 microns. We are able to accommodate this need, as well as any others you might require.


Filtration and Drying Screens Are Two Uses for Polyester Mesh

Polyester mesh screening is used for a variety of purposes and applications, depending upon the industry. For instance, the mesh screen can be attached to a frame and used as a drying mechanism for products and materials. The openings in the mesh screen allow for air to flow all around the materials and ensure they dry evenly. Another use for the mesh screen in the food industry is to use it as a filter in the production of fruit and vegetable juices. The screening acts as a barrier to remove pulp, seeds, and skins from the pressed fruit or vegetables, while allowing the juice to pass through the screen. Other food industry applications for this kind of mesh include using it to sift flour and in processing refined sugars.

Polyester Mesh Is Used for Industrial and Research Applications

Polyester mesh has many features which are beneficial for industrial and research applications. This type of mesh provides decent abrasion and corrosion resistance, has a high tensile strength, and performs well when exposed to wet environments. In addition to being used for filtration and as drying screens, this mesh can be custom cut and sewn into mesh bags. The mesh bags are used where different materials are placed inside in order to control their release over an extended period of time, like for releasing fertilizers used in agricultural applications. Laboratory and research facilities occasionally use this kind of mesh as containment for insect studies, as air is able to flow through the openings while keeping test subjects enclosed in the desired locations.

Differences between Nylon and Polyester Mesh

You are able to use polyester mesh for many of the applications and processes where you would use nylon mesh. But there are differences between these two materials. Both nylon and polyester may be produced using synthetic processes involving thermo plastic polymers. However, nylon is made from polyamides, while polyester is made from various polyester materials and is also able to be manufactured using plant materials. Another difference between the two is the way that they feel. Polyester often has more of a fiber-like feeling, whereas nylon can seem almost more silk-like. When it comes to the stretch ability of the mesh screen, nylon is able to be stretched, more than polyester.

Polyester Mesh Is Suited for Various Applications

Polyester mesh screen includes several properties, making it suited for several applications. Polyester is water resistant, has a resistance to certain chemicals, can withstand higher temperatures because of its higher melting point, and is resistant to most types of solvents. One specific application used for polyester is to create mesh screens used in mesh screen printing processes. In this industry, polyester screening is commonly used for printing processes that are in high demand and require precision accuracy in the area where inks are being applied, such as directly onto circuit boards. But, polyester has a lower wear resistance than nylon, so it has to be checked more frequently. For processes which do not require precision and standard screen printing process, nylon is more commonly used, in place of polyester, due to its higher wear resistance.

An Alternative to Nylon Mesh for Some Applications and Environments Is Polyester Mesh

Polyester mesh is able to be used as an alternative to nylon mesh for certain types of applications and environments. Polyester contains many of the similar properties found in nylon, such as being very good at abrasion resistance. In other cases, polyester can provide slightly better performance than nylon, like when it has to stand up to light and weather resistance outdoors.

Compare the Properties of Nylon and Polyester Mesh to Choose the Mesh Best Suited for Your Applications 

Whenever you need filter mesh screening for your applications and processes you should compared the different properties found in nylon and polyester mesh. Certain types of environments are better suited for polyester over nylon and vice versus. For instance, while both kinds of mesh can be used in water, polyester does hold up better over long term exposure. Polyester also provides more acid resistance than nylon when being used with acidic liquids.

Polyester Mesh and Nylon Mesh Might Look Identical but There Are Differences

While polyester mesh might look identical to nylon mesh there are a few differences between these two products. The major difference has to do with the types of materials used to construct and manufacture the mesh screening. Nylon is the key component used for nylon mesh and polyester is the key component used to make this kind of mesh screening. Both mesh products are designed to be used in a variety of environments and in certain cases may offer similar resistance qualities.

Polyester Mesh Holds Up Better in Certain Environments than Nylon Mesh

The types of fluids filter mesh functions well in is another difference between polyester mesh and nylon mesh. Polyester is a material which has the ability to hold up better when exposed to water and has a higher resistance to acids. One key benefit to using polyester in place of nylon for these environments is to help reduce the frequency of filter mesh replacement.  On the other hand, nylon offers better alkali resistance than polyester. Just make sure to check the general properties of both styles of mesh to select the one that will work best for your applications.

Polyester Mesh Is Better Suited to Some Applications Due to Its Properties

The types of properties found in polyester mesh make it more suitable for certain applications than polypropylene or polyamide mesh. For instance, polyester has a higher softening point and melting point than the other two kinds of mesh. Polyester also provides better light and weather resistance when used in outdoor settings or locations which receive direct sunlight.

Polyester Mesh Is Designed for High Acidity Levels and Water Filtration Systems

You should consider using polyester mesh in water filtration systems. Polyester is able to stand up to wet conditions and water better than nylon mesh. While nylon mesh can also be used for water filtration systems, it has to be replaced more frequently than polyester. You should also consider using polyester in cases where you are working with liquids with high acidity levels or if the water being filtered contains high acid levels. Polyester is also more resistant to acids than nylon filter mesh.

Polyester Mesh is as effective as the Size of the Mesh Openings

The overall effectiveness of polyester mesh is determined by the size of the screen openings in the mesh. Larger openings are suited for situations where you are filtering out larger particles. Any particles that are smaller than the size of the mesh opening will not be initially filtered. However, you can use a second filter mesh with smaller mesh openings, to filter out any remaining particles not removed when they were filtered through the larger screen.

Custom Cut Polyester Mesh for Manufacturing has its Benefits

Polyester mesh can be custom cut to fit with your product designs and drawing specifications. Rather than perform the cuts yourself in-house, you can order the mesh already cut to size. Ordering mesh in this manner may cost slightly more. But you gain the benefits of always having mesh available for your production runs and not having to worry about running out.