Dyneema fibers, developed by the Dutch company DSM is a super-strong polyethylene fiber used for various applications requiring security, strength and lightweight. In woven textile form, the fiber is used for the manufacturing of bulletproof armor and in protective clothing for law enforcement agencies and the military. Dyneema is 15 times stronger than steel and, weight-for-weight, is 40 percent stronger than competing aramid fibers. With specific weight lower than water, Dyneema floats on water, and is highly resistant to abrasion, moisture, UV rays and chemicals.
Dual Protection Vests Made of Steel Reinforced Fibers
New models of body armor are offering protection from gunshots, shrapnel and knives stabs. These vests are fabricated from a combination of Dyneema high-performance polyethylene fiber from DSM and Steelskin steel cord material from Bekaert providing stab protection against edged weapons. The combined material provides dual protection vests offering the same class of protection, compared to competitive materials and technology. In the past, similar levels of protection required heavier and stiffer outfits which were uncomfortable to use. According to DSM, the combination of the two materials adds improved performance – as the steel wire blunts and damages a blade with each thrust, while the super-strong fibers further absorb the impact energy to stop the damaged knife and minimize trauma.
Manufacturers already using the new combined material include C.P.E. Production, a Finnish manufacturer of combat protective equipment, offering the enhanced vests to police and private security companies. Sioen of Ireland supply similar vests to the Irish An Garda Siochana, police. The armor provided by Sioen is PSDB certified to protection level HG1A/KR1 and is the lightest system currently available on the market. The new material was unveiled November 22, at the Milipol 2005 exhibition in Paris.