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When it comes to string-knit gloves, Dyneema® and Kevlar® are two of the most popular choices, but which should you choose? We’ve examined the incredible properties of Kevlar® and Dyneema® before but never pitted them fiber-to-fiber. So, today on the blog, we’re feature the ultimate showdown: Dyneema® Vs. Kevlar®.
You’ve probably heard about these fibers’ strength-to-weight ratios before. Kevlar® states it is 5 times stronger than steel on an equal-weight basis and Dyneema® boasts an impressive strength that is 15 times stronger than steel. Does that mean that Dyneema® will be a better material for producing safety gloves and sleeves? Not necessarily.
The strength of both materials is similar. Kevlar® has a tensile strength of 3620 MPa and Dyneema® has one of 3600 MPa. But because Dyneema® has a much lighter density than Kevlar® (0.97 compared to 1.44), it scores a higher strength-to-weight ratio.
In the Superior Book of Cut Protection, John Simmons explained that there are four factors that influence cut resistance:
As we covered above, both yarns have similar strength. Hardness, the second factor, relates to engineered yarns and isn’t applicable for this showdown.
Rolling action is how the yarn moves when a sharp edge slides across the material. Both yarns should ‘roll’ to create a ball bearing effect when a sharp edge slides across. But the amount it rolls depends on the gauge of the yarn.
So the noticeable difference here is the slickness of the yarn. Hold a Kevlar® glove in one hand and a Dyneema® glove in the other, it won’t be hard to tell that the Dyneema® glove has a smoother, softer feel. Which is a great segue for the next category…
When it comes to conforming to your body, both of these high-strength fibers will do the job well.
But for keeping cool on a hot summer day, Dyneema® and its high performance polyethylene (HPPE) cousin TenActiv™, provide unbeatable comfort. HPPE fibers stay cool and do not trap air, allowing your skin to breathe. HPPE also does not absorb water, which means it will wick moisture and sweat away from your skin. While still comfortable to wear, Kevlar® won’t let your skin breathe as well and tends to absorb moisture.
When washing string-knit gloves, both fibers can handle a lot. Here is the biggest avoidance for each fibers:
Avoid heat: Washing temperature shouldn’t exceed 104°F and tumble dried on low.
Avoid bleach: Bleach destroys the strength of Kevlar® fibers, as seen below.
Because bleach cannot be used to clean Kevlar® gloves, Dyneema® and TenActiv™ are the preferred materials for the food industry to reduce contamination.
It’s not unusual to need a single piece of protection for many risks. If you can wear one glove to provide you with cut and heat protection, it means that you’ll save money on PPE.
You’ll also save time from having to change gloves based on application and you’ll reduce the risk of an injury from not wearing your PPE.
When it comes to heat protection, Kevlar® is the clear winner. With a degradation point of 850°F, Kevlar® is great for high-heat applications. As an added bonus, this synthetic material is inherently flame resistant. So it won’t drip or melt if exposed to open flames.
Dyneema® doesn’t offer much heat resistance, with a melting point of 277°F.
Impressive sub-zero temperature side note: Even though Kevlar® is great for high-heat temperatures, it’s also great for cryogenic temperatures (-320°F) and has a slightly stronger tensile strength at lower temperatures. Whereas Dyneema® becomes brittle at temperatures below -240°F.
You. The consumer. That answer may seem like a cop-out but the reality is that both yarns have their strengths and their weaknesses. The good news is that you have options. So if you’re working in hot climates, choose a glove made with Dyneema®. But if you’re looking for a glove for heat properties, Kevlar® should be at the top of your list. Either way, you should have piece of mind knowing that you’re going to be well protected.
Want suggestions for which yarn to use for your industry? Click below to see our “Guide to Selecting the Right Pair of Work Gloves for Your Industry” infographic.
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