The lowest weight. The greatest protection with Dyneema® UD

In combat, personnel need robust protection against today's advanced and emerging threats – but mobility is just as vital for mission success. Put simply, lightweight ability is survivability. And that’s where soft body armor made with Dyneema® enters the fray.

Because Dyneema® isn’t just the world’s strongest fiber™ – it’s also light enough to float on water. Harnessing this unrivaled strength-to-weight ratio, we turn Dyneema® fibers into a high-performance layered ballistic protection solution: Dyneema® unidirectional (UD) material. It outperforms all other materials in ballistic stopping power – and does so while being lighter and thinner than comparable protective gear. 

Dyneema® enables STRENGTHplus+

In kinetic situations, armor strength is only one dimension of survival. Personnel also need to move fast and freely – and the exceptional strength-to-weight ratio of Dyneema® UD makes this possible.

35%

lighter than aramid at equal ballistic stopping power

15x

stronger than steel at equal weight

44%

lighter and thinner than generic polyethylene

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How is Dyneema® UD made? 

We start by using molecular engineering to create Dyneema®, the world’s strongest fiber™. Our cutting-edge method involves disentangling polyethylene molecules using our proprietary gel spinning process, heating and stretching the continuous filaments, then spinning these filaments into ultra-strong fibers.

To manufacture Dyneema® UD, we lay the fibers in a crisscross pattern at 0 and 90 degrees, with the rotated layers allowing for even and rapid distribution of energy. The result is a UD material that’s used in the strongest, lightest, and most comfortable soft body armor in the world. Depending on the type of soft armor vest being made, we layer and bond two, four, or six sheets, also known as plies, of Dyneema® fibers to produce the finished product.

The anatomy of a vest made with Dyneema® UD

Dyneema® UD is strong enough to disperse the force of multiple bullets at once with a layer that’s thinner than an iPhone. 

With the lowest weight and the greatest protection it delivers superior stopping power. 

CLICK ON THE HOTSPOTS BELOW

Multiple-hit performance and multi-threat protection

Superior edge and angle shot protection

Energy absorption for minimal deformation of armor’s back side upon impact

Unprecedented flexibility

Up to 44% lighter than competitive vests

Lightening the load

Defense industry research shows that heavy loads negatively impact soldiers’ mobility, shooting response time, and cognitive performance in the heat of battle. With Dyneema UD®, we help resolve the tension between mobility, protection, and lethality by supporting the creation of lightweight armor vests that offer maximum protection. As a result, soldiers in the field can fight smarter, better, and for longer.

For unlocking combat potential

  • Lightweighting means less exertion, fatigue, and injury

  • Low weight allows for a large protection area

  • Ultra-thin vest increases mobility to perform critical tasks

  • Superior flexibility increases flexion, extension, range of motion, and stability

  • Cut and slash resistance

  • Ultra-reliable due to high tear strength, breaking strength, and abrasion resistance

  • Officers can act with greater speed, balance, strength, and focus

  • Soldiers can carry more gear and gain a tactical advantage

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Maximum comfort, all-day wear

Military personnel, law enforcement officers, and first responders all need to wear their soft armor for long periods of time. But armor isn’t very useful if you constantly want to take it off!

Combat personnel need lightweight, ergonomic protection that allows them to focus on the task at hand, whether they’re sitting in a vehicle, bending down for cover, or sprinting to their destination. With its low weight, minimal stitching, and flexible contouring to suit male and female bodies, Dyneema® UD is designed to be worn comfortably by everyone who needs it – for as long as they need it.

For unbeatable comfort

  • Low weight reduces risk of distraction or irritation

  • Elasticity, flexibility, and compressibility for extensive body motion adaptation

  • Air permeability for superior thermal management in warm environments

  • Minimal stitching for maximal comfort

  • Easy to wipe clean

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Superior protection from every angle

From ballistic fire to frag and knife damage, operators in modern combat zones face a multitude of threats. However, thanks to our Dyneema® Force Multiplier Technology, we’ve successfully raised the bar for soft body armor design.

Whether the danger is from the front or the back – or both at once – Dyneema® UD distributes impact energy faster and more evenly than competitive materials.

 For cover when it counts

  • Excellent multi-hit performance

  • Protects against threats from ballistics, frags, stabs, and cuts

  • Lightweighting enables larger vest protection area

  • Outstanding angle and edge shot performance

  • Low trauma and minimal deformation of armor’s back side upon impact

Protecting body and planet

Security isn’t just about protection from immediate threats; defending the planet for future generations is an equally important mission. That’s why we’re committed to reducing our carbon footprint in every aspect of our business and delivering end-to-end sustainability for Dyneema® products.  

To achieve this goal, we take responsible decisions at every stage of our products’ life cycles, from sourcing to manufacturing, use, and end of life.

Here are just a few examples of end-to-end sustainability

Sourcing

Some products are available with bio-based Dyneema® fiber, offering the exact same performance and specifications with a 90% lower carbon footprint than generic HMPE fiber.

Manufacturing

100% of the electricity used in our manufacturing comes from renewable sources. 

Usage

The unique chemical properties of Dyneema® extend the life cycle of end products and reduce material usage over time.

End-of-Life

We work with our customers to establish collection points for end-of-life products, ensuring they’re disposed of responsibly without resorting to incineration or landfills.

To date, 700,000 soft armor vests made with Dyneema® have been delivered to police forces across the USA, enabling unparalleled protection for officers in the line of duty.

Marcelo van de Kamp, Global Business Director for Dyneema®, Avient

The history of Dyneema®

Since the discovery of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) in 1967, we’ve been on a journey of innovation to bring the benefits of Dyneema® to military and law enforcement personnel.

1990

First commercialization of Dyneema®

1993

Dyneema® enters the ballistics market with the first production of Dyneema® UD

2013

Dyneema® introduces Force Multiplier Technology that enables off-the-charts V50 performance

2023

Launch of Dyneema® next-generation UD

The material of choice for elite armed forces

The world’s leading armed forces and law enforcement agencies place their trust in Dyneema®. And why wouldn’t they, when it offers unmatched protection plus enhanced combat effectiveness?

Law enforcement agencies include:

  • New York Police Department

  • Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

  • Chicago Police Department

  • Washington DC Metro

  • Baltimore City Police

  • Virginia State Police

 US armed forces applications include:

  • US Marine Corps Plate Carrier Generation III; Enhanced Combat Helmet; V-22 Osprey

  • US Army Modular Scalable Vest Generation II ; Integrated Head Protection System; Soldier Protection System

  • US Military Joint Tactical Vehicle

  • US Navy Mark VI Patrol Boat

  • Advanced Bomb Suit

 Almost all NATO member states including:

  • Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Türkiye, UK, USA

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Putting Dyneema® UD to the test

Soft armor made using Dyneema® has been tested across three continents in technical centers with their own shooting ranges. These extensive tests include measuring the performance of Dyneema® at a fiber, UD, and application level. For application tests, we manufacture soft ballistic packs and test the ballistic resistance of the article against a wide range of variables.

Ballistic performance tests – multi ammunition

Small fragments? Handgun ammunition? Mild steel-core (MSC) rifle projectiles? Our tests confirm the outstanding anti-ballistic and stopping capabilities of Dyneema® materials against a wide range of threats. And we use the results to provide tailored solutions for our customers.

Anti-knife test

Our Dyneema® multi-threat product grades build on Dyneema®’s reliable anti-ballistic protection to safeguard against knife threats. We test according to international anti-stab standards – and the results show outstanding protection against multiangle threats that police officers face every day.

Backface deformation tests

At our ballistic laboratories, we’re able to test the level of damage sustained by the back side of armor upon impact. The result? Thanks to the high energy absorption and distribution of Dyneema® materials, our solutions meet and exceed US and international standards on backface deformation.

Multiple environment simulations

Wherever your personnel are operating, they can rely on Dyneema®. Our labs are equipped with conditioning chambers where we test the performance of Dyneema® materials in simulated extreme environment conditions.

Accelerated ageing tests – heat and humidity

To guarantee stable ballistic performance over time, our accelerated ageing tests simulate multiple years of real-time ageing, including in high temperatures and extreme humidity conditions. All Dyneema® materials show stable performance in these tests – ensuring a unique combination of strength plus durability.

Tumbling tests

Dyneema® is used in multiple solutions certified by the US National Institute of Justice (NIJ) – so we make sure Dyneema® fulfils every NIJ requirement, including its tumbling protocol. Thanks to our state-of-the-art equipment, we can perform tumbling tests before entering the certification process.

Contact our sales team

Selecting the right soft armor for your operational needs is a big decision. If you’re a law enforcement agency or defense ministry looking for a bespoke presentation, get in touch.

Contact us
  • Purchasing for your law enforcement agency
  • Threat mitigation advice
  • Law enforcement agency presentation days
  • Striking the right balance between mobility and protection


Meeting – and exceeding – international certification standards

Soft armor vests made with Dyneema® UD are tested according to a variety of requirements across different countries, including USA NIJ, UK CAST 2017, VPAM, and NATO. In all these tests, we ensure that vests made with Dyneema® UD meet and surpass certification standards, and we’re recognized as offering the lightest body armor solution for both soft and hard armor applications.

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With our multiple manufacturing sites, protection is never far away

Dyneema® UD is manufactured in both the USA and Europe, with both territories using strategically resilient supply chains to keep production close to home.   

For the US market, Dyneema® is manufactured exclusively at our facility in Greenville, NC – a site that employs more than 400 US workers, of which 10% are military veterans. In addition, our Technical Service Center in Stanley, NC, supports US-based body armor manufacturers in next-generation product development. With these two US facilities, we ensure quality, consistency, and security of supply for our American customers, as well as no dependence on foreign materials, no disruption due to supply chain issues, and consistency and quality in manufacturing.

Meanwhile, our presence in Heerlen, the Netherlands, means we can deliver equivalent supply assurances for our European customers, with no change to our commitment to quality and reliability.

 

Design with Dyneema®

Do you design or develop soft armor? Or perhaps you’re looking to test what Dyneema® UD has to offer? Our team would love to work with you to develop your ideal performance solutions, using our Dyneema® portfolio.

Our technical centers across the globe are always looking ahead, so we can anticipate changing and emerging threats. Our experts engineer for the future, so we can keep delivering the next generation in innovation. And our teams can help you certify your soft armor vests, so you can protect the people who protect us, no matter where in the world you are.

Design with Dyneema®

Want the same high performance with a lower carbon footprint?

Discover bio-based Dyneema® fiber

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In defense applications, protection is paramount. That’s why the world’s elite forces rely on the strength of Dyneema®.

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