Applications made with ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMwPE) fiber and unidirectional (UD) retain a very high level of ballistic protection after real-time aging and use in the field, a new study shows.

DSM Dyneema, the producer of UHMwPE fiber and UD, branded Dyneema®, is presenting the results of its latest research into ageing in a paper to be given at PASS 2012, the biennial Personal Armour Systems Symposium this year being held in Nuremberg on September 17-21st. Data collected confirm the predictions made in accelerated ageing tests that the company presented two years ago at PASS 2010 in Quebec.

In a second paper at the symposium DSM Dyneema will also show how armour made with Dyneema® retains a very high proportion of its properties, even after extended exposure to temperatures as high as 90°C. Both papers have been peer-reviewed, and accepted by the PASS scientific committee.

PASS brings together technical experts and scientists in the field of personal protection to discuss the scientific and technological challenges, discover the latest technical and commercial innovations, and interact with key players in the field. Dyneema® material is widely used in ballistic vests, inserts, helmets and shields, where its combination of outstanding mechanical strength and low weight can be utilised to produce protective equipment that is highly effective and comfortable to wear.

The publication, titled "Effect of Real Aging on Ballistic Articles Made of Dyneema® UD," (by Padovani, Meulman and Louwers), presents the results of various ballistic evaluation tests applied to ballistic protective products, such as vests, inserts and helmets, that were produced with Dyneema® UD material between five and twelve years ago. The results of the tests demonstrate that there were no significant changes in ballistic performance of the Dyneema® material, even though some of the items had been subjected to considerable wear and environmental exposure.

Co-author Mr Meulman will personally present the publication, titled "Ballistic performance of articles, made with Dyneema®, at elevated temperatures, extreme for body armour – part 2." This is also a follow-up to the PASS 2010 paper. The new study mostly concentrated on assessing the performance of Dyneema® material in soft and hard body armour conditioned at 70°C and then submitted to V50 ballistic tests while still hot. Some tests were also carried out on products conditioned at up to 90°C. Such tests are important, because earlier studies have shown that in daily use, body armour left in vehicles can reach temperatures of around 70°C.
Conditioning times ranged from 1.5 hours for hard armor panels, up to 12 hours for soft ballistic packages, vests and inserts. Some ambient-temperature testing was also carried out on products conditioned for up to 20 weeks.

All in all, results indicate that the tested applications made with Dyneema® UD retain their outstanding performance after being exposed to considerable wear and environmental exposure over the years, as well as high temperatures.

"These latest results, stemming from our on-going research program, provide important confirmation that Dyneema® fiber and UD not only start out as an excellent material for personal protection, but remain so, even after long-term use in the most demanding conditions," says Dirk Louwers, Marketing Manager Life Protection. "This is further proof that Dyneema® is a highly sustainable product, across a broad range of applications."

For more information and access to the respective papers: visit us at our stand at PASS and online at: