Kevlar Exo is lighter and more protective that previous versions
DuPont has debuted a new version of its famous bulletproof Kevlar fabric called EXO at this year’s United States Army Rangers’ Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning Georgia. The company says it is the most significant aramid fiber innovation in over 50 years with not only better ballistic protection, but it’s also lighter, more flexible, and more heat resistant.
Mention Kevlar and it’s likely to bring up images of bulletproof vests, but the material has many more applications. Blankets of it protect the International Space Station from micrometeorites, it reinforces composite boat hulls, is spun into cordage, woven into sails, formed into helmets and fire-resistant clothing, used as a substitute for asbestos, and turned into everything from hockey sticks to tennis rackets.
Small wonder that 55 million tonnes of it under various names are produced worldwide every year.
Technically, Kevlar is an aramid fiber, which is short for aromatic polyamide – a synthetic polymer material formed from aromatic rings of six carbon atoms arranged along the axis of the fiber. Put simply, this makes the end result very strong, abrasion resistant, heat resistant, nonconductive, and non-inflammable under normal conditions.
According to DuPont, Kevlar EXO not only shows improved best-in-class ballistic protection over the previous versions, it is also lighter and more flexible, allowing soft protective vests made out of it to fit better and wear more comfortably. It’s also heat resistant to up to 500 °C (932 °F) and is highly durable without a significant loss in performance after five years.
“We’ve spent over a decade developing, refining and perfecting Kevlar EXO, and the result is an industry altering platform that has catapulted our life protection capabilities to a whole new level,” said Steven LaGanke, global business leader, DuPont Life Protection. “Developed and tested by leading materials experts at DuPont, Kevlar EXO offers never-before-seen ballistic and thermal performance while also providing a flexible and lightweight solution that empowers users to operate at peak performance. Whether for military members, law enforcement officers, private security or emergency responders, pound for pound, Kevlar EXO users can better manage energy output even during the most demanding physical tasks.”
David Szondy is a playwright, author and journalist based in Seattle, Washington. A retired field archaeologist and university lecturer, he has a background in the history of science, technology, and medicine with a particular emphasis on aerospace, military, and cybernetic subjects. In addition, he is the author of four award-winning plays, a novel, reviews, and a plethora of scholarly works ranging from industrial archaeology to law. David has worked as a feature writer for many international magazines and has been a feature writer for New Atlas since 2011.