- Kevlar is the
registered trademark for a para-aramid synthetic fiber, related to
other aramids such as Nomex and Technora. Developed at DuPont in
1965, this high strength material was first commercially used in the
early 1970s as a replacement for steel in racing tires. Typically it
is spun into ropes or fabric sheets that can be used as such or as
an ingredient in composite material components.
- Currently, Kevlar has
many applications, ranging from bicycle tires and racing sails to
body armor because of its high tensile strength-to-weight ratio; by
this measure it is 5 times stronger than steel on an equal weight
basis. When used as a woven material, it is suitable for mooring
lines and other underwater applications.
- Kevlar® is used as a
reinforcement material for some car tyres and bicycle tyres. It
helps dramatically reduce puncture rates.
- Kevlar® 29 is used in
the manufacture of body armour (panels) for lightweight military
vehicles. A good example is the US Army’s ‘Bradley Fighting
Vehicle’. This has been used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Kevlar® 29 was selected for its armour, because it is lightweight
and withstands attack from RPGs. The Kevlar® 29 panels protect the
soldiers inside the vehicle.
- Kevlar® 49 is used for
specialist boat hulls and in the aerospace industry. It is popular
as a material for boats because it is lightweight and can withstand
a considerable amount of force (torque - twisting force), tensile
stress and impact. Hulls manufactured from traditional materials,
such as fibreglass, are limited in their resistance to forces and
stress. Also, a lightweight boat is faster on the water and uses
less fuel to complete distances.
- When Kevlar is used as
a composite with rubber, it retains its flexibility. This composite
material is used in the manufacture of Formula One Racing Car petrol
tanks. The tank holds the petrol safely, even in the event of an
accident. The material cannot be pieced by other car components,
even during a high speed impact. The petrol does not escape/leak,
avoiding fire and explosions. The lightweight tank, adds to the
reduced weight of the entire vehicle, leading to a faster racing
- Kevlar is
revolutionary and its design innovations make it one of the toughest
commercial materials in existence today. One day, it could save your
life, one way or the other.
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