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What is Kevlar®?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 21, 2024
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Kevlar® is an extremely strong material that derives its strength from its spider web-like weave. Stephanie Kwolek and Herbert Blades created this special material in 1965 for the Dupont Company. Since then it has been used in a number of ways.

To make Kevlar®, a special weaving method — known as an aramid weave — is used to turn a liquid into a solid. Aramid fibers tend to be difficult to corrode, resistant to heat, and have no melting point. Chlorine can degrade the material, however.

Because Kevlar® is light, it is the premium choice for bulletproof vests. A variant called Nomex® is fireproof and may be used by fireman or other people responding to disaster situations.

Different types of weaves that can be used to create this material, and the one that makes a fabric-like produce suitable for vests is called Kevlar® 29. This version may also be used in brake pads, or to replace asbestos. It is also is a major part of the composition of body armor.

There are two other main weave types: Kevlar® and Kevlar® 49. The regular, non-numbered version may be used to replace rubber items like tires. Type 49 is extremely strong and can replace the more traditional materials used for a boat hull, or be used in simple items like bicycle frames.

One of the most interesting applications of this material is its use in shelters for protection against tornadoes. The shed-like structures can be placed in a garage. Tests show it can deflect large projectiles at speeds of up to 250 mph (402.32 kph). In areas with frequent tornadoes, these shelters may become the best way to protect people from tornadoes.

Under great compression, Kevlar® can buckle, and in some cases, be pierced. After vest made of the material were introduced, for example, people quickly found a way to make bullets that could go through them. These are illegal for sale to consumers, but some armies use them to provide additional strength in ground combat.

In general, however, Kevlar® can be used in many ways to provide protection and for replacement of materials more likely to corrode. It's likely that even more products will be made from it in the futurein the future.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a All The Science contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon356990 — On Nov 30, 2013

Does anyone know anything about the uses of Kevlar in communications satellites? Any information would be really appreciated! Also the toughness and flexibility (so fracture energy and young's modulus) would be really useful. I know some people have already posted some figures for the Young's Modulus [Young's modulus: 117 - 130 Gpa and

Young's Modulus is 76 GDA] but any confirmation would be great. Thanks!

By anon336612 — On May 30, 2013

Can somebody tell me the elements in Kevlar?

By anon320206 — On Feb 16, 2013

I'm doing a report in Chemistry on Kevlar and need to know how it could be developed in the future - any ideas?

By anon304261 — On Nov 19, 2012

Can I make a gimp suit out of kevlar?

By anon302235 — On Nov 08, 2012

I want to make a Batman costume. Should I use kevlar?

By anon257936 — On Mar 29, 2012

Kevlar on ebay is about £25 per square meter.

By anon256221 — On Mar 21, 2012

What is the impact of kevlar on the environment?

By anon254518 — On Mar 13, 2012

What are some interesting facts about kevlar?

By anon129972 — On Nov 26, 2010

i have a science project and i need to know if you could bend kevlar and use it for shinguards.

By anon92629 — On Jun 29, 2010

Can you buy Kevlar in a sheet, like you would buy a sheet of aluminum? What kind of properties does it have? Is rigid, or is it flexible?

By anon85930 — On May 22, 2010

What's the weight of kevlar 29 per square foot?

By anon80348 — On Apr 27, 2010

how could we get hold of just the kevlar material in the uk?

By anon67718 — On Feb 26, 2010

is kevlar made of anything dangerous?

By anon67543 — On Feb 25, 2010

does anyone knows the danger of kevlar. is it good for your health?

By anon66341 — On Feb 19, 2010

can kevlar mesh sheets be made to be hydrophilic?

By anon56003 — On Dec 11, 2009

Could anyone tell me the stress and strain of Kevlar 29? Please! Thanks.

By anon51603 — On Nov 07, 2009

DuPont Kevlar 29 Aramid Fiber, 12micron diameter

Price: 21.8 - 36.4 GBP/kg

Thermal conductivity: 0.2 - 0.3 W/m.K

Young's modulus: 62 - 80 GPa

Kevlar 49

Price: 49.4 - 139 GBP/kg

Thermal conductivity: 0.2 - 0.3 W/m.K

Young's modulus: 117 - 130 GPa

Kevlar 149

Price: 62.9 - 157 GBP/kg

Thermal conductivity: 0.2 - 0.4 W/m.K

Young's modulus: 170 - 190 GPa

By anon48650 — On Oct 14, 2009

Could you please give me more basic information about kevlar and how it is used with tennis rackets? thank you.

By anon46847 — On Sep 29, 2009

I am also doing a project on Kevlar for DT. we are doing Smart Materials, so any more info on the technology side of it?

By anon37441 — On Jul 19, 2009

does anyone know if kevlar is very resistant against wear from sandpaper? if not, is it stronger against wear than leather or some kind of fabric? thanks

By anon35819 — On Jul 07, 2009

how does the manufacture or use of Kevlar affect the environment or economy

By anon27480 — On Mar 01, 2009

well maybe the reason kevlar can conduct electricity is because it contains metalloids?

By anon25985 — On Feb 06, 2009

Kevlar has no metals so i imagine its conductivity is rubbish. It's youngs Modlules is 76 GDA.

By daniela — On Nov 15, 2008

hi, doing a project on kevlar, anyone got more information? mostly on the scientific side?

By clemente101 — On Oct 09, 2008

do they use kevlar on baseball helmets since I doing a project on it and it states that kevlar is used on helmets but are they used on baseball helmets

By kezwick — On Sep 24, 2007

I wanted to know some more information about kevlar because im doing a project about it in physics,

i wondered if anyone knows the:

conductivity

Cost

and Young modulus of kevlar

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen

Writer

With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a All The Science contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
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