Dyneema® Anti Stab Technology
How sharp thinking led to extra protection
What do you do when you have the strongest, lightest, most flexible and most comfortable ballistic material for protecting the lives of police officers and military personnel against bullets and fragments? You see if you can make a new protective material that resists knife attacks as well. Even when everyone around you says it can’t be done.
Dyneema® Soft Ballistics material has been on the market for many years, but the portfolio of Life Protection did not include an ‘anti-stab’ material yet – the ability to stop a knife or similar sharp object penetrating the vest. Bullets and fragments may be the primary threat to the lives of law enforcement officers and military personnel, but knives pose a real danger as well. They are easy accessible. It’s also a danger to people who work in other high risk occupations, such as paramedics, prison officers and security personnel.
Dyneema® Anti Stab Technology
Now the Life Protection portfolio includes Dyneema® Anti Stab Technology. The technology is twofold, explains Joke Hendrix, R&D Product Engineer at DSM Dyneema. “Different Dyneema® constructions were tested and laminated.” The result is a fabric, with anti-stab properties. “This combination of the anti-stab material with the proven Dyneema® soft ballistic materials, enables our customers to create a multi-threat vest that provides stab resistance and ballistic protection.”
Until the launch of Dyneema® Anti Stab Technology, multi-threat vests were mostly based on laminated aramids, or steel rings called chainmail. At the same time, the market for what is sometimes called multi-threat protection is growing. The Dyneema® Anti Stab Technology platform provides vest manufacturers and end-users an extra choice that may tailor better to their situation. As an example, a DSM customer designed a vest with an areal density of approximately 5.6 kg/m2, for protection level HG1A-KR1 (UK HOSDB 2007 standard), fully based on DSM material.
Vest designs including traditional non-DSM materials have areal densities of 6.7 – 7.7 kg/m2 for the same protection level.
Poor results… encourage further research
Like most R&D, the road from idea to market-ready product was full of twists and turns. “In 2013,” says Hendrix, “we had some thoughts for different designs of Dyneema® constructions, to explore if we could expand protection. The initial tests results were very promising, and encouraged us to initiate a ‘Competence-Building project’ in stab resistance. “It was a very fundamental project in which we explored what stops a knife, what is the mechanism behind it and so forth and so forth,” says Hendrix.
An important outcome of the project was the necessity of further modifying the Dyneema® concept to provide anti-stab protection and ultimately develop a system that meets the technical criteria, yet is still flexible and comfortable for the wearer.
From in-house R&D to open innovation
The project changed from fundamental to applied research and vest concepts were tested in the market, says Hendrix. “We did extensive testing and found that the vest concepts based on the new DSM material were stab resistant and could meet the HOSDB standard at lower weight than so far possible.”
Joke worked extensively on both the material and complete vest concepts.
Apart from the success of the project, the other positive, says Hendrix, is that it has inspired colleagues to come up with further ideas. “The Dyneema® Anti Stab Technology has become an idea generator!
The story likely won’t end here.