You may have heard the word Kevlar thrown around on your favorite crime dramas like Criminal Minds or NCIS. But what is Kevlar material and what is it really used for?
While the most well-known application is in bulletproof vests, there are so many more uses for Kevlar that you may not have even thought of.
But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to find out exactly what Kevlar is and how it can be used!
The Beginning: A History of Kevlar
Kevlar was invented by chemist Stephanie Kwolek in 1965 while working at DuPont. In 1964 anticipating a probable gas shortage, she started working with her team to come up with a lightweight solution for tires that would still be strong and durable. However, it didn’t start being used commercially until the 1970’s when it started being used to replace the steel in racing tires.
So What Is Kevlar Material?
At its core Kevlar is an extremely lightweight, yet strong synthetic polymer that is weaved into a material that is 5 times stronger than steel when the weight is equal. Kevlar has an incredibly high tensile strength that is 8 times stronger than steel wire.
Once it is manufactured into its fiber form, it is then made into a thread that can be woven into fabric or other materials. This is how it is woven into body armor and bulletproof vests.
An important thing to note about Kevlar is that it is not waterproof and can not be placed in direct sunlight. If this happens, the fibers will lose their density and cause it to be much less effective. That is why you mostly see kevlar being used as an inner lining or core of a product.
The great thing about Kevlar is that as strong as it is by itself, it can be made even stronger by being combined with other composite materials.
Now that you know what it is, let’s talk about how you can use it and benefit from it.
How Can You Use It?
The most common use of Kevlar is for bulletproof vests and body armor. The reason for this is two-fold.
First, the lightweight nature of Kevlar allows for police officers, bodyguards, and military personnel to move quickly and freely without worrying about the bulk of wearing armor. Second, the borderline invulnerability of Kevlar means that the people who serve and protect us every day are also being thoroughly protected.
What you may not know, is that kevlar has actually been used in things you use every day.
For all of you snow lovers out there, Kevlar is used in both snowboards and skis for their core material. The combination of being both lightweight, as well as incredibly strong makes the chances of your board or skis breaking on a crash significantly less likely. It also allows for more tension and leeway when carving the slopes.
Another way Kevlar is used is for the inner lining of bicycle tires. Not only does this help prevent holes in your tires, but it also increases the lifespan so your tires will last longer.
What may surprise some people is that Kevlar is also used for the interior of ping pong paddles. You read that correctly. Your everyday ping pong paddle could be lined with Kevlar.
The reason for this is that it allows the ball to bounce farther than with traditional wooden paddles. It’s also a great talking point at a party.
“Hey, party people! Want to play some ping pong with my new Kevlar laced paddles?” You just became the coolest guy at the party!
Even your favorite shoe companies are starting to incorporate kevlar into their products. In 2013, Lebron James wanted a better shoe to play basketball in for the playoffs. So he went to Nike and the Elite Series of shoes were created using materials like carbon fiber and you guessed it, Kevlar.
Believe it or not, even your phone could possibly have Kevlar within it. Phone companies are now using Kevlar in their back panels. This helps to protect the inner workings of the phone in case it is dropped or damaged.
Another use for Kevlar has been in drumheads. Anyone who has ever been to a live rock show knows how hard those drummers beat down on their various pieces. The kevlar allows the drumhead to withstand the consistent and intense impact that comes from drumming.
Manufacturing and Production
Kevlar also has no shortage of applications within an industrial environment. It is already being used in the production of hoses, belts and other materials that could benefit from some extra reinforcement.
One of the growing areas of use for Kevlar is in protective clothing for construction workers, builders and more. It is now being woven into equipment like boots and gloves. The strength of the Kevlar greatly helps in decreasing injuries from cuts and scratches, along with if anything were to fall on you.
Now it’s time to get a little larger in scale. A significant use for Kevlar is actually found in many of your modes of transportation. It is used to make airplane parts, auto parts, and other vehicles such as helicopters, especially within the military.
But it’s not just military vehicles that are starting to incorporate Kevlar. It is now being used to replace asbestos in brake pads. Asbestos can be very toxic and dangerous, and Kevlar has been a great replacement.
Kevlar: More Than Meets the Eye
As you can see, Kevlar is not something that is only found in military armor and equipment. It is something that is being used in everything from the mundane to the insane. From airplanes to tennis shoes, Kevlar is changing the way things are made.
Looking to use Kevlar or other incredible composites in your next big project? Make sure to head over to our website now to get your free quote today. It’s time to step into the 21st century and take your product to the next level!