Defense authorities are always looking for the next generation in ballistic protection. One of the main demands from those on the front lines? Lightweight ballistic materials.

Today, countries around the world are focusing on developing low-weight solutions for hard armor inserts, soft body armor, and ballistic helmets that deliver improved comfort, ergonomics, mobility, and protection. That means setting aside traditional ballistic materials like steel, nylon, and aramid in favor of new technologies – helping to enhance both efficiency and survivability for law enforcement and military personnel.

Diamond Background

Dyneema®: Safety starts with us

One example is the use of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) unidirectional sheets – otherwise known as Dyneema® UD. Not only is Dyneema® the world’s strongest fiber™, but it also has carefully engineered performance characteristics that make it ideal for a variety of applications, including soft and hard armor protection against today’s advanced and emerging threats.

At Avient, safety is at the core of everything we do – and we believe saving lives starts with selecting the right ballistic material. That’s why we’re always innovating our product portfolio to provide full-body protection for those who protect us.

Dyneema®’s exceptional strength-to-weight ratio enables body armor that’s up to 35% lighter than alternatives made with aramid materials, without compromising on protection. Thanks to our next-generation fiber technology and unidirectional engineering, our Dyneema® UD material can help body armor manufacturers deliver armor solutions with unmatched ballistic stopping power in a lightweight and flexible composite.

Lessons learned

The experience of the US Army in Afghanistan proved the value of lightweight ballistic vests. Protective vests must be comfortable to wear for long periods of time, even while soldiers are weighed down by ammunition, batteries, radios, and other equipment. The lightweight construction of body armor made with Dyneema® helps mitigate injuries associated with the cumulative effect of daily armor use while increasing situational awareness in high-risk environments, allowing the wearer to better identify and address threats.

The case of Latin America

100%-aramid solutions have now been abandoned by many of the world’s elite military and law enforcement organizations due to the existence of lightweight alternatives. For example, a hybrid vest containing both Dyneema® UD material and woven aramid fabric offers strong projectile protection in thinner, more wearable, and more affordable vest options.

In Latin America, ever more law enforcement agencies require vests to be not only lightweight but also achieve level 3A as set out in the latest National Institute of Justice body armor standards (NIJ 0101.06). Hybrid vests made predominantly with Dyneema® are a perfect fit for this market – meeting these strict requirements and providing world-class protection for wearers. At Avient®, we’re proud to play our part in protecting these wearers: the law enforcement officers, first responders, and military personnel who risk their lives every day to keep communities around the world safe.

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Interested in learning more about Dyneema® for your project or end-use application? Reach out to our team of experts today.

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