What is Rilsan and what is it used for?

Rilsan is the trading name for Nylon 11/Polyamide 11 which is a polyamide and bioplastic member of the nylon family of polymers. In basic terms, it is produced using castor beans and the polymerisation of 11-aminoundecanoic acid. In its usable form, Rilsan is a fine powder that has an array of thermoplastic characteristics and extreme durability.

We will now take a look at the specific characteristics of Rilsan, where it is used and the fact that you will come across it every day of your life and never realise it!

Rilsan and the world of engineering

The ability to manipulate, design and maximise the efficiency of designs and materials is central to the world of engineering. Rilsan, which is manufactured by Arkema, plays a central role in so many different areas of engineering for a variety of different reasons.

Properties of Rilsan

This material is used as a metal coating for various products as well as an additive in many other applications. We will now take a look at the individual properties of Rilsan which will highlight the reasons why it is so important.

The first thing to say about Rilsan is that it is up to 100% bio-based – created from substances derived from living (or previously living) organisms. The fact it is biobased immediately extends its potential uses.

The powder is resistant to abrasions, can withstand significant impact and has a general all-round toughness. It is often used as a coating and offers enhanced protection for the underlying materials.

It does sound as though the characteristics of Rilsan are endless because not only does it offer extreme toughness but it is also chemical and corrosion-resistant. Obviously, there are many areas of manufacturing where chemical and corrosion issues can significantly shorten the lifespan of a material or product. Not any more!

Rilsan is a powder that can also be used in extreme weather conditions offering a significant level of protection against the elements. Again, there is an endless array of different environments and situations in which this powder would be extremely useful.

General uses for Rilsan

In theory, the potential uses of this incredible powder are endless but there are a core number of processes in which it has proven to be extremely valuable which include: –

Transportation of fluids

Did you know that Rilsan has been used in water treatment plants since the 1960s? The protection against both chemicals and corrosion makes it invaluable for the metal machinery used in the water treatment industry. The powder not only protects the material, moving parts and machinery but also helps to preserve water quality.

Coatings additive

When you consider the abrasion resistance, chemical resistance and relatively low density of the powder this is the perfect additive for the industrial coatings industry. Commonly used in areas such as coil coating, floor coating and many different plastic coating processes the powder can be manipulated into different sized and different shaped granules. This creates varied textures when mixed with other substances.

Laser sintering

The laser printing industry has grown enormously over the last few years and polyamides such as Rilsan offer the perfect characteristics to maximise this technology. The thermal properties, toughness and impact resistance of these fine particles have a number of benefits over other polyamides. This is an area that will only grow in importance and Rilsan is likely to be an ever-present element.

List of Rilsan markets

When you bear in mind the characteristics and performance aspects of this fine powder the potential use for the material is endless. However, we have listed a number of markets that utilise the full benefits of Rilsan below:

  • Automotive/Transportation
  • Building and Construction
  • Chemical and Plastics
  • Consumer Goods
  • Electronics and Electrical
  • Food and Agrochemicals Industry
  • Oil and Gas
  • Paint, Coatings and Adhesives

If you take a few moments to look at the extensive list above it won’t take long to recognise the importance of Rilsan. Some specific uses include:

  • Sliding Door Rails
  • Transportation Interior/Panels
  • Tubing
  • Wire Coating
  • Food Processing
  • Pipes and Fittings
  • Bra Wire
  • Electrical Equipment


Once you appreciate the make-up and the characteristics of Rilsan it is not difficult to see the massive potential for everyday use across the manufacturing and services sector. Like many important materials in the engineering industry Nylon 11/Polyamide 11 tends to go unnoticed despite the fact it has an impact on everyday life.

  • Tough, chemical resistant and corrosion resistant it is not difficult to see why Rilsan powder is used in an array of everyday products.
  • Rilsan is commonly used to extend the life and durability of metals offering protection in a variety of situations.
  • The fact that Rilsan can be easily manipulated into a variety of granule sizes and shapes adds to uses to the coatings additive industry

Rilsan is produced by Arkema. Find their materials and get in touch on Matmatch.