Fifteen times stronger than steel, Dyneema® has been an innovator in the personal protection industry for more than 30 years. As the only backward-integrated ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) manufacturer, they innovate on the molecular level to develop polymers with higher molecular mass. These polymer innovations have enabled the creation of their third-generation higher-tenacity fiber, which is then cross-plied in 0- and 90-degree sheets to make its unidirectional (UD) material.
The result? Material with one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios of any material on Earth.
The material can be used for a number of end-use applications and industries, including law enforcement protective equipment. Made in America, Dyneema® is proud to protect those who protect our communities across the country and the world. Their material innovations directly impact officers with higher-tenacity fibers, enabling improved ballistic stopping power and material formation that provides superior energy dissipation and distribution for an armor system.
Their newest material development, Dyneema® SB301, is now available for usage by armor manufacturers to design soft armor vests, which will result in both increased protection and reduced weight for end users.
Protection-wise, this latest product grade provides a 15% increase in V50 performance for 9mm ammunition and an 8% increase in V50 performance for .44 magnum ammunition. Weight-wise, it enables body armor manufacturers to make up to 20% lighter NIJ IIIA vests. With 74% of officers ranking comfort as their top criteria for selecting body armor in a 2022 law enforcement survey, this is especially important as weight and flexibility were the key determinants of that comfort.
“Officers should not be forced to choose between protection and comfort, and Dyneema® is working meticulously to lighten their load and increase the ballistic stopping power of our material,” said Marcelo van de Kamp, global business director for Dyneema® at Avient. “This is just the latest in a series of innovations from Dyneema®, and we look forward to continuing these improvements so that officers have access to lighter, more comfortable vests than what have been available without sacrificing the standard of protection.”
As just one in a series of industry-leading improvements, Dyneema® SB301 is preceded by Dyneema®Force Multiplier Technology platform, which enabled increased V50 performance. Future innovations are anticipated using this third-generation fiber, including hard ballistic product grades suitable for military vests, insert panels, ballistic helmets and vehicle armor; all will be available for customer use and product development in early 2024.
“Together with our partners in body armor manufacturing, Dyneema® is proud to create materials that are meeting officer demands for lighter, more comfortable and flexible armor solutions,” van de Kamp expanded.
Dyneema® unveiled their latest innovation to customers in late September, and these body armor manufacturers will begin developing new solutions using the technology in the coming months. Depending on development and NIJ testing timelines, law enforcement officers can likely expect to see solutions using the new Dyneema® product grade entering the market in the next 12–18 months.
Dyneema® may be known as the world’s strongest fiber™, but that won’t stop the company from seeking opportunities to become stronger.