Modern multi-component bulletproof vests are an important and indispensable element of the equipment of the officers of various types of forces. Different types and purpose bulletproof vests exist. Recently, modular type vests are becoming more and more relevant, which can be transformed depending on the task being performed and the degree of risk. To the main part of the armor (back and chest securing section providing full torso protection at the front and rear), additional safety components in the form of separate modules can be attached to protect the side parts of the torso, shoulders, neck, and the loins. Bulletproof vests play an important role in preserving the health and life of anti-terrorists in fulfilling their duties and resolving crisis arising in various critical situations. The fibres used in ballistic protection plays a vital role in deciding the protection level.
FIBERS USED IN BALLISTIC PROTECTION
Developed by Dupont, this is widely used in the modern generation of light weight concealable body armors with drastically improved ballistic protection over their predecessors. Kevlar fibers consist of long molecular chains produced from polyparaphenylene terephthalamide. The chains are highly oriented with strong inter chain bonding that results in a unique combination of properties, which include high tensile strength at low weight, low elongation to break, high modulus (structural rigidity), low electrical conductivity, high chemical resistance, low thermal shrinkage, high toughness (work-to break), excellent dimensional stability, high cut resistance and flame resistance. Kevlar fiber does not melt or soften and is unaffected by immersion in water, although its ballistic properties are affected by moisture. It is five times stronger than steel on an equal weight basis and it is lightweight, flexible and comfortable. Kevlar fibers can be processed by textile manufacturers with little difficulty. Kevlar, introduced in the early 1970s, was the first generation of bullet resistant fibers to make the production of flexible, concealable body armor practical for the first time. Kevlar® fiber and filament come in a variety of types, each with its own unique set of properties and performance characteristics for different protection needs .
Kevlar® 29 (K29)
The original family of product types of Kevlar®, having similar tensile properties with many
deniers and finishes. These yarns are used in ballistic applications, ropes and cables, protective apparel such as cut-resistant gloves, in life protection uses such as helmets, vehicular armoring, and plates, and as rubber reinforcement in tires and automotive hoses.
Kevlar® 49 (K49: High-modulus type used primarily in fiber optic cable, textile processing,plastic reinforcement, ropes, cables, and composites for marine sporting goods and aerospace applications.
Kevlar® 100: Producer-colored Kevlar® yarns, used in ropes and cables, tapes and strappings, gloves and other protective apparel, and sporting goods.
Kevlar® 119: Higher-elongation, flexible-fatigue–resistant yarn types found in mechanical rubber goods, such as tires, automotive belts, and hoses.
Kevlar® 129: Lightweight, high-performance, and high-tenacity type of yarns used in motorcycle racing gear, life protection accessories, ropes and cables, and high-pressure hoses
used in the oil and gas industry.
Kevlar® KM2: Woven into fabric meeting performance requirements for helmets and vests
for military and high-performing UDs for spall liners.
Kevlar® KM2 Plus: High tenacity, high toughness, and finer denier fiber used in vests and
helmet for both military and law enforcement officers.
Kevlar® AP: Kevlar® AP for Advanced Performance helps dramatically improve costeffectiveness and design flexibility to manufacturers helping them build leaner, more robust
consumer and industrial products.
Twaron®: Twaron is high-performance man-made 100% paracrystalline fiber and Teijin Aramid’s flagship para-aramid product. It offers a unique combination of mechanical properties, chemical resistance, durability and thermal stability. It is highly valued across a wide range of industries for the benefits it brings to a great many high-performance applications.
Technora®: Technora is a para-aramid fiber made from co-polymers. Technora has a range of unmatched performance properties, including:
· High tensile strength – weight for weight, Technora is eight times stronger than steel
· Good fatigue resistance
· Long-term dimensional stability
· Excellent resistance to corrosion, heat, chemicals and saltwater
Sulfron®: Sulfron is a modified Twaron aramid. Used as a compounding ingredient, it improves the properties of sulfur-cured and peroxide-cured rubber compounds. It reduces hysteresis, heat build-up and abrasion, while improving flexibility, tear- and fatigue-resistance properties. It can be used to reduce the hysteresis of carbon-black-filled compounds and of compounds containing both carbon black and silica. As the Sulfron 3001 is mixed with the compound at elevated temperatures, intermediate reaction products are formed that interact with the carbon-black particles, thereby reducing the filler-filler interaction. The result is a compound with reduced frictional energy and thus improved hysteresis properties. With carbon black, this reaction takes place at elevated temperatures of between 140°C and 160°C. It is suitable for compounds containing both natural rubber (NR) and synthetic rubber (SR). According to the Tejin, tires that contain Sulfron are more durable and longer lasting, with better fuel efficiency, without compromising performance.
Tejinconex®:Teijinconex is a meta-linked aromatic polyamide fiber with flame-proofing and heat-resistance properties. It will not catch fire through exposure to direct flame or heat, and it neither burns nor melts, which means it cannot stick to skin. It is thermal insulator and has outstanding chemical resistance. According to Tejin, Teijinconex also meets the standard requirements of a clothing material – it is lightweight, easy to clean, and comfortable to wear. Spectra®: This fiber, manufactured by Honeywell, is an ultra-high strength poletheylne fiber. Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene is dissolved in a solvent and fibers are produced through the gel-spinning process. In general, Spectra fibers are a bright white polyethylene fiber with high resistance to chemicals, water and ultraviolet light. Spectra is stronger than steel and 40 percent stronger than aramid fiber and capable of withstanding high-load strain-rate velocities
DSM Dyneema®: Another HPPE fibre like Spectra, this is made of ultra-high-strength gelspun polyethylene used in body armour. Dyneema has an extremely high strength-to-weight ratio and is light enough to float on water .
Dyneema® is used in armored helmets, vests, shields and inserts to protect against a wide range of ballistics threats. Personal Armor, made with Dyneema®, help safeguard “”everyday heroes”—such as soldiers, law enforcement officers, commercial pilots and high-profile civilians.
Dyneema® Soft Ballistic (SB) armors are used in vests and clothing to provide life-saving
protection against handgun ammunition and knives.
Dyneema® Hard Ballistic (HB) armor solutions are incorporated into ballistic inserts and
helmets to protect against heavier and more penetrating threats.
Zylon® (PBO): Zylon fibers is high performance fiber developed by Toyobo . Zylon consists of rigid-rod chain molecules of poly(p-phenylene-2,6-benzobisoxazole).
Zylon fiber has strength and modulus almost double that of p-aramid fiber and shows 100° C
higher decomposition temperature than p-aramid fibre. The limiting oxygen index is 68, which is the highest amongst organic super fibers. These properties are displayed in comparison with other high-performance fibers. There are two types of Zylon fibers, AS (as spun) and HM (high modulus). Zylon body armor is believed to be lighter, more comfortable and stronger than aramid body armor. However, the tensile strength of Zylon fiber might be susceptible to degradation under certain extreme temperature and humidity conditions.
Excellent knowledge of fibres meant for individual ballistic protection are crucial to the right choice of means to protect the health and life of the officers during law enforcement, anti- and counter-terrorist, peace supporting, military and other operations.
The important parameters to be kept in mind are:-
- Improve protection against natural and battlefield threats.
- Maintain thermo-physiological comfort or survival in extreme conditions.
- Improve compatibility between and within different clothing components.
- Reduce weight and bulk of materials.
- Integrate functionality so that fewer layers provide multi layer protection.
- Reduce life cycle costs by making systems more effective, durable, and recyclable
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