Kevlar fabric – the name itself even sounds cool, like something out of sci-fi. Adding to its tough-guy image is the fact that most of us have only heard of it in connection with bulletproof vests on cable crime shows.
Kevlar fabric is a type of plastic, but not what you think. Although most people have heard of it, the truth is, most of us know little about what it actually is.
Read on to find out more about kevlar fabric, how it’s made and how we can use it.
Kevlar Fabric Guide 101: What Is It?
Kevlar fabric is an extremely strong type of plastic. It was first discovered in the early 1960s and appeared on the market in 1971.
It’s a proprietary material, made only by the DuPont chemical company. There are a couple of types on the open market – Kevlar 29 and Kevlar 49.
What Makes It So Strong?
Kevlar’s strength comes from how the molecules are arranged. It has a ring-like structure, and these microscopic rings are connected together to form long chains.
These strings or monomers then bond together to form polymers. The overall effect is a super strong, reinforced polymer. Because it is a type of plastic, not only is it super-strong, it’s also incredibly light.
How Is It Made?
Kevlar fabric is made in two stages. The chemist makes the plastic through a condensation reaction, fusing two substances together.
Then the plastic is then spun into a fabric using a process called wet spinning. This process causes the rods in the plastic to fully align, which is what gives Kevlar its strength.
The fibers can then be woven into the fabric we know as Kevlar.
The Special Properties of Kevlar
Here come some cool Kevlar fabric facts. Its tensile (stretching and pulling) strength is 8x greater than steel wire.
It is also heat and cold-resistant. Amazingly, it does not melt except in extreme temperatures of over 850°F. It’s also virtually cold-proof, remaining just as strong at -320°F.
What about if you try to burn it? OK, it will burn, but it won’t continue burning once the heat source has been removed. At the other end of the scale, water can’t touch it – it remains just as strong even after months of soaking.
The Uses of Kevlar Fabric
Kevlar 29 is most commonly known as ballistic kevlar fabric or bulletproof kevlar fabric. As the name suggests, it is the best material out there for making bullet and stab-proof vests.
OTEX Specialty Narrow Fabrics is one company putting kevlar to other uses. They harness the incredible tensile strength of Kevlar fabric to make narrow fabrics. This includes netting, tethering, and straps for cargo. It also makes excellent fall restraint harnesses, Kevlar fabric roll, and protective gloves.
Kevlar Fabric – More Useful Than You’d Think
Kevlar fabric is not just the stuff of cop shows. Its super-strength makes it perfect for anything that needs to absorb huge weight and shock. Kevlar fabric really is a wonder material that has saved countless lives.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this, check out our other blogs. We’ve got fresh content on everything from computers and technology to home improvement.