What is Dyneema?
First and foremost, Dyneema is a brand owned by the Dutch company DSM. Before being a textile or a cord, it is above all a fiber. From a technical point of view, it is UHMwPE for ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene.
From a general point of view, HDPE (High Density Poly-Ethylene) is a fiber that resists abrasion very well. It can be found in operation by various companies including DSM from the year 1990 and which, by buying Cubic Tech in 2005 (which operated under the name Cuben Fiber), has positioned itself as the leader for laminated textiles intended for sails for racing boats, sports, outdoor, military or rescue equipment. The other operator of HDPE is Honeywell, which markets the fiber under the name Spectra. For the rest of this article, I will wright about he Dyneema brand of DSM.
What are the properties of Dyneema?
I talked about abrasion resistance above, but to put it simply, Dyneema’s primary advantage is its overall strength in relation to its weight. When spinning synthetic fibers (gel spinning), the polymer in gel form is stretched, heated, elongated and cooled, which allows molecular alignment. These long molecular chains allow charge transfer. At comparable weight, Dyneema is more resistant: 15 times more resistant than steel or 40% more resistant than aramid (Nomex, Kevlar ...). At comparable strength, Dyneema is lighter: 30% lighter than nylon or polyester, 45% lighter than aramid. It is therefore an important contribution if you are looking to gain weight or resistance (to cuts and abrasion).
What are the applications of Dyneema?
In addition to this resistance of the fiber, applications must now be found. As the fiber can be titrated (thickness of the fiber) from 50 to 6000dtex, we can find many applications for it. Perhaps the most intuitive is that of ropes and nets. There are ropes for anchoring boats, cargo nets, ropes for parachutes and paragliders.
The other application that interests us the most is in purely textile use: composite, woven or knitted. We can obtain a fabric composed only of Dyneema fiber deposited at 90 ° to each other to obtain a lightweight laminate, resistant to puncture and abrasion. It is then used in bulletproof vests for example.
We can also include a part of Dyneema fibers in a traditional weaving or knitting such as denim, jersey, outdoor oriented textiles ... While keeping the initial appearance of the product, we can then increase its technical properties to obtain a better protection, better resistance to abrasion and tearing.
The impact of Dyneema in sport
The balance between weight and resistance is crucial when it comes to sports equipment. Dyneema makes it possible to no longer compromise between the two and to guarantee a high level of performance without weighing it down. Many sports disciplines benefit from the contribution of Dyneema such as mountaineering, ultra-light hiking, or cycling. From ultralight backpacks to abrasion resistant cycling kits that protect the runner in the event of a fall, manufacturers quickly embraced fiber in their products.
To know more :
- DSM's website, manufacturer of Dyneema
- The Dyneema Project to discover products that use this fiber
- My products using Dyneema (sacoches, fanny packs, sling bags...)