Projections show that the global aramid fiber market will reach a value of $1.4 billion by 2027.
Aramid fibers offer a range of benefits and suit various applications because of their unique properties. For example, Kevlar is one of the most popular aramid fibers available — but what is Kevlar? And why is it so useful?
What Is Kevlar?
Kevlar is a material that’s well known for its incredible strength-to-weight ratio. It’s plastic but far stronger than many plastics we see in everyday applications. This is due to its molecular structure as well as the way its fibers are woven together.
There are two types available: Kevlar 29 and Kevlar 49. The DuPont chemical company manufactures both.
Benefits of Kevlar
The unique benefit of kevlar is its strength relative to its weight. When compared to steel wire, the specific tensile strength of Kevlar is over eight times higher.
Kevlar materials are far more heat-resistant than other plastics. It can be exposed to extreme temperatures and will only start to break down at around 850°F (450°C). Kevlar can be ignited, but it will stop burning once you remove the heat source.
Kevlar also does well in low temperatures. DuPont has tested it at temperatures as low as -320°F (-196°C) and found it had little to no effect.
Extended chemical exposure can cause Kevlar to degrade, but it can easily resist chemical attacks without any issues. DuPont has also tested how it reacts to moisture and found that 200 days of exposure to hot water had essentially no effect on it.
Kevlar also works well as a friction material due to its low wear rate, low abrasion rate, and impressive oil resistance. In addition, it has good friction properties even when wet and will not wear or rub a metal surface that it’s in contact with.
The most well-known use is Kevlar protection in stab-proof and bulletproof vests. This is because the incredible strength makes them difficult to penetrate, and the low weight makes it easy for the wearer to move around.
It’s used for various vehicle applications, such as reinforcement in tires and parts of car bodies. Boat and aircraft bodies also sometimes include Kevlar components.
The strength-to-weight ratio is perfect for sports equipment. There are many Kevlar uses in the sporting world such as:
- Skis and snowboards
- The inner lining of bicycle tires
- Interior of ping pong paddles
- Basketball shoes
Kevlar is sometimes used in buildings and structures, but only in specific areas. Despite its impressive tensile strength, it has a low compressive strength, so it isn’t suitable as a primary structural material.
The friction properties of Kevlar make it perfect for use in brakes. It can replace other materials and last much longer in the same conditions. In addition, it provides smooth clutch engagement and won’t be affected by moisture.
The Possibilities of Kevlar
You’re no longer wondering, “what is Kevlar used for?” and may already know how it can benefit you. The uses above are just some of the more common uses, but there are plenty more. The strength, heat resistance, and flexibility make it a very versatile material.
Kor-Pak supplies high-quality friction materials serving a range of industries. If you have any questions about what we offer, click here to contact us today.