Kevlar® fiber is incredibly strong, tough, light, flexible, heat, flame and cut resistant. This unique combination of high-performance properties makes Kevlar® fiber the solution for many demanding applications:
- Ballistic vests & hard armor
- Cut- and heat-resistant gloves & sleeves
- Firefighter turnout gear
- Ropes & cables
- Tires / Mechanical rubber goods
In addition to its impressive list of inherent properties, Kevlar® is available in a wide range of fiber forms, providing protective-apparel manufacturers with plenty of design flexibility. Some of these fiber forms include spun yarns, textured filaments, and engineered blends that incorporate other fibers and colors. Consequently, end-users can rely on the fact that they will be able to benefit from the protection offered by Kevlar® regardless of their industrial application. As an example, the range of Kevlar® gloves goes from 15-gauge, lightweight cut-resistant gloves, all the way to heavyweight, heat-resistant mitts. Gloves made with 100% Kevlar® fiber provide good thermal-insulation properties for hot or cold working environments.
Another important performance criteria to consider when selecting the appropriate PPE is the care, cleaning and disposal of the product. The ability to launder and recondition gloves made of Kevlar® has been an important element of the overall value proposition and widespread industrial acceptance. Laundering to clean the most challenging greases and oils does not affect the cut resistance of Kevlar®. Some oleophatic fibers like HPPE can stain very easily upon exposure to oils and grease.
Kevlar® brand fibers are resistant to many chemicals and solvents. However, strong acids, bases, and certain oxidizers like chlorine bleach, cause rapid degradation of the fiber. Industrial launderers operate in the mid PH ranges (4-8), never lower or higher. In addition, the elimination of chlorine bleach in the cleaning of industrial apparel does not hinder the ability to clean it. Keep in mind that bleach would have to be avoided if the PPE contained spandex fibers anyway, so if it is absolutely necessary to bleach PPE, then oxygen bleaches can be used as an alternative without issue.
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Kevlar® Thermal Protection
Kevlar® offers exceptional thermal resistance and very low thermal conductivity. It is inherently flame resistant, does not melt and will decompose between 800 – 900°F, which is extraordinarily high when compared to the melting points of other materials, such as the following:
- UHMWPE (Dyneema® & Spectra®) 290 – 300°F
- Nylon (6, 6-6) 400 – 500°F
- Polyester 400 – 500°F
- Kevlar® 800 – 900°F
The chart on the right compares the thermal resistance of leather and Kevlar® exposed to a hot surface measuring 536°, and measured in seconds to pain. It was evaluated using ASTM Test Method F1060, which is the standard test method used to gauge the amount of contact thermal protection provided by high-heat PPE.
Gloves made with 100% Kevlar® fiber provide good thermal insulation for those working in hot or cold environments. Glove design, coating type and companion fibers can also greatly impact wearer comfort.
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