Kevlar webbing is almost always the product you hear when discussing industrial yarns and high-performance fibers. But, did you know there are several alternatives?
These alternatives can sometimes even be cheaper and achieve the same results as Kevlar because their composition is so similar. If you have never explored a Kevlar alternative for your needs, you might be missing out. You could find an even better product that suits your needs and saves you money.
Keep reading to find all the equally durable alternatives to Kevlar.
Kevlar and Alternatives to Kevlar
Kevlar is a type of fiber that has been around since the mid-1960s. It was originally used to replace steel in racing tires, but it has expanded its use into bulletproof vests, mooring lines, and much more.
Kevlar, Twaron, Technora, Heracron, and Alkex are all made of extremely strong aramid fibers. These fabrics can have more benefits than carbon, and they have a stellar strength to rate weight ratio. Each of these Kevlar alternatives has general properties that are almost identical to the original. It is likely you would not notice the difference between a ripcord made with Kevlar and a ripcord made with Twaron.
The Production of Aramids
Aramids are what Kevlar and all its alternatives have a composition of. But, what are aramids?
Aramid fibers are short for aromatic polyamide. They are manufactured fibers where the composition is a type of synthetic polyamide. In this, more than 85% of the linkages must link to two aromatic rings.
After the creation of this polymer, aramid is made from spinning it into a solid fiber with the use of a solvent. Along the fiber axis, chain molecules are highly oriented which makes them much stronger than most other synthetic fibers.
This composition gives aramid products, like Kevlar and Kevlar alternatives, several sought-after characteristics. It also gives them the ability to protect and serve humans in situations that deal with extreme heat and chemicals.
Twaron is an extremely popular alternative to Kevlar. This product is tough, light, and resistant to harmful chemicals and high temperatures. It is often chosen for its ability to make ordinary products unbelievably durable.
Twaron, generally, has the same chemical structure as Kevlar. It began developing only a little while after Kevlar appeared on the market.
This product has protection against heat, chemicals, and ballistics. It comes in the following different types to suit any application.
- Filament yarn
- Staple fiber
- Fabrics and laminates
- Short-cut fiber
- Jet-spun products
This product has been tailored to nearly anyone who uses it. It even comes in two colors, black or yellow, to fit the manufactures’ preference. Some of Twarons’ applications include military, sports, aerospace, automotive, and construction. It has been used to make flame-resistant clothing, fiber reinforced concrete, brake pads, and much more.
Technora, which is an aramid made from two diamines, has many high-performance properties. It is heat and chemical resistant, and it is said to be much stronger than steel.
Due to Technoras’ extreme durability and strength, the fiber is used often in industrial applications. Some major industrial uses of Technora include the following.
- Turbo hoses
- Mechanical rubber goods reinforcement
- Electrical mechanical cable
- Windsurfing sails
- Ram air parachute suspension lines
- Personal protective equipment
- Optical fiber cables
But, those are not the only impressive products Technora has been involved in. Along with Kevlar and Nylon, Technora was used to create the largest parachute sent to Mars.
Heracron is another aramid made similarly to Kevlar. It is valuable in industries in need of lightweight, flame-resistant, high-strength material. This trade name is relatively new, but the technology is not. Heracron is a South Korean-made product with many important similarities to Kevlar and Twaron.
Heracron, like other alternatives to Kevlar, is most often used in industrial fields. This means fields that need extremely tough fabrics and products. This includes ballistics, fiber optical cables, mechanical rubber goods, protective apparel, composites, and friction material.
Alkex is a relatively new Kevlar alternative. The aramid fiber was not developed or commercialized until the early 2000s.
Such as the other alternatives to Kevlar, Alkex is often used for automotive rubber reinforcement and bulletproofing. Alkex is somewhat weaker than Kevlar, yet it is still much stronger than steel. When choosing Alkex, you may lose some strength, but you will have more money in your pocket.
If you are using Kevlar, but do not need its extreme strength, Alkex may be a better fit. Alkex, Kevlar, and other alternatives are extremely flame-resistant. Even at 500 degrees Celsius or 932 degrees Fahrenheit, the fabric will not combust.
Flame resistance, which is often confused with flame retardant, means that the product does not catch fire by nature. Its chemical structure is non-flammable.
Flame retardant refers to fabrics that are treated with a chemical that uses a reaction to extinguish flames on contact. Alkex, as well as other alternatives to Kevlar, are flame resistant due to the way they are produced.
Found Your Kevlar Alternative?
Exploring alternatives to Kevlar may help you find the perfect aramid fiber for your needs. Each product is only slightly different to fit any application.
If you’re looking for the perfect Kevlar alternative, contact us today to learn more about the products we offer beyond Kevlar.