HomeBody Armor MaterialsLighter, Stronger, Greener: Dyneema®’s Next-Gen Ballistic Material Marks a Milestone in Body...

Lighter, Stronger, Greener: Dyneema®’s Next-Gen Ballistic Material Marks a Milestone in Body Armor Technology

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The annual Industry Day At The Range, held at the Boulder Rifle & Pistol Club range just outside Las Vegas, has long been a prelude to the renowned SHOT Show. Traditionally dominated by firearms and ammunition manufacturers, this year saw a unique addition to the lineup – Avient, the company behind one of the most advanced lightweight materials used in ballistic panels, Dyneema®, the world’s strongest fiber™.

Testing the Stopping Power of Dyneema®

At the Avient booth, visitors were treated to a live demonstration showcasing the stopping power of their latest material advancements – the next generation Dyneema® unidirectional (UD) ballistic materials – based on their third-generation fiber innovation.

The third-generation fiber was molecularly engineered at the polymer level, enabling increased fiber tenacity. When used in the construction of UD material, the new fiber enables increased stopping power at significantly reduced weights in the final armor system.

The crowd witnessed the resilience of a soft armor panel crafted with the groundbreaking Dyneema® SB301, enduring close-range shots from a handgun. Additionally, a hard armor plate, constructed with the same third-generation Dyneema® fiber, impressed spectators as it withstood point-blank shots from six high-powered rifle rounds.

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Next-Gen Material

Crandall Turner, spokesperson for Avient, shed light on the significance of the next-gen Dyneema® material. “With its increased strength and lighter weight, the next-gen Dyneema® material allows body armor manufacturers to design soft armor vests that can be 10% to 20% lighter than previous top-of-line protective solutions without sacrificing ballistic stopping power,” Mrs. Turner stated.

She also revealed that various manufacturers are currently working on new armor designs to meet the recently released NIJ 0101.07 body armor standard.

Brand Identity and Website Overhaul

The year 2023 marked a milestone for Dyneema®, particularly for Mrs. Turner. As the Global Manager of Marketing Communication for the brand, she played a crucial role in developing a new brand identity, including a revamped logo and website. This transformation occurred as Dyneema® transitioned under the ownership of Avient Corporation, following its sale by DSM in 2022.

The Dyneema® diamond logo received a modern facelift, aligning more closely with Avient’s brand. Mrs. Turner highlighted the accomplishment of the updated dyneema.com website, emphasizing its comprehensive coverage and improved accessibility to support customers and end-users throughout their journey.

Sustainability Initiatives

Mr. Dirk Louwers, Global Marketing Manager for Dyneema®, shared insights into the marketing strategy at the Avient booth. Based in the Netherlands, the birthplace of Dyneema® in the late 1960s, Mr. Louwers expressed pride in the introduction of third-generation fibers. He hinted at the upcoming launch of more unidirectional (UD) materials for hard armor applications based on this advanced fiber. And shared that the next-generation UD materials are all made with bio-based Dyneema® fiber, enabling a 90% lower carbon footprint than generic HMPE.

As Dyneema® evolves, the fiber portfolio overview reveals changes, with some first-generation materials phased out. Mr. Louwers emphasized the enduring strength of Dyneema® SB51 for developing cost-effective soft armor panels, especially for tactical armor systems.

Mr. Louwers expressed great enthusiasm about an innovative recycling plant currently under construction in Geleen, Netherlands. This cutting-edge facility is set to revolutionize Dyneema® production by further seamlessly transitioning it to a bio-based feedstock. In collaboration with UPM Biofuels and SABIC, Avient is actively engaged in the creation of a bio-based Dyneema® fiber, highlighting a commitment to environmental sustainability and the development of materials with a significantly reduced ecological footprint.

Mr. Louwers mentioned that the company is working towards using renewable materials for all Dyneema® products to create a fully circular product line. He highlighted that the company’s fiber-production plants currently operate on 100% renewable energy. And the team was just recognized for the prestigious Milipol Innovation Awards for its Circular Dyneema® solution which uses advanced chemical recycling, known as pyrolysis, to return Dyneema® to its most basic form: ethylene.

However, he stressed the importance of government regulations to further promote sustainability. Additionally, Mr. Louwers pointed out a gap in existing regulations that could enhance sustainability.

He suggested that government body armor tenders should require manufacturers to take back and recycle the body armor products after their warranty period. While he acknowledged the potential additional costs and logistical challenges, he also proposed exploring the idea of a deposit system for body armor as an interesting consideration.

A Confident Future

Mr. Louwers concluded with confidence, stating that the introduction of the next-generation ballistic material, made with bio-based Dyneema® fibers is a significant step towards a more sustainable and efficient future for ballistic protection. The company remains at the forefront of innovation, pushing the boundaries of technology and environmental responsibility in the body armor industry.

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