You might have heard the term Kevlar®: applied to material, scissors, and other items. What is it?

Kevlar® is a synthetic material made from a type of patented plastic. First introduced in 1971 it was invented and patented in the 1960s by chemist Stephanie Kwolek. It is light and incredibly strong – in fact, five times stronger than steel when considered on an equal weight basis. It is also more than five times less dense than steel. It can impede knives and bullets, and is used for everything from boat building to reinforcing brake pads in cars.

Plastics are created when long chain molecules are joined together. Each type of plastic has its own unique properties. In Kevlar®, the molecules of the material are regularly arranged in parallel lines, with tight-knitted fibers. Made by DuPont™, Kevlar® is mainly available in two varieties: Kevlar 29 and Kevlar 49, and shares a lot of similarities with Nomex, another protective material that is very versatile. They are distantly related to nylon.

Why is Kevlar® so great?

  • It is extremely strong but relatively very light. It has a tensile strength eight times that of steel wire.
  • It can be ignited but will not continue burning if the heat source is removed.
  • It won’t melt and will decompose only at temperatures of 850°
  • It is not impacted by extreme cold.
  • It is relatively chemical resistant, though if exposed to strong acids or alkalis over time it will degrade.
  • It is not affected by moisture or hot water.

Does Kevlar® have any drawbacks?

While the tensile (pulling and stretching) strength of Kevlar® is outstanding, its compressive strength (resistance to squeezing) is very poor. While it is great for some applications, Kevlar® is never used as the primary material in buildings, bridges, and other structures.

Note that Kevlar® will discolor in the sun or whenever exposed to UV light sources. The fibers in the material will potentially degrade in UV light.

What is Kevlar® used for?

This versatile material is used alone or in a composite material to add strength to it without making it heavier. Some uses for Kevlar® include:

  • Body armor
  • Bulletproof vests
  • Car brake and tire reinforcement
  • Archery bow strings
  • Bodies of cars, boats, and aircraft

Vampire Tools proudly supplies the best Kevlar scissors and shears available on the market. Strong, sharp, lightweight and durable, there is no better scissor product out there. Browse our full range today.