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DSM Dyneema: Diverse protection
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DyneemaDiverse protection

DSM Dyneema provides personal and platform protection against the full spectrum of ballistic threats

Dyneema®, the world's strongest fibre. © Dyneema
Dyneema®, the world's strongest fibre. © Dyneema

DSM Dyneema is the inventor and manufacturer of Dyneema, the world’s strongest fibre. Dyneema is an ultra-reliable polyethylene fibre that offers maximum strength combined with minimum weight, and is finding an ever-increasing array of uses in the highperformance demanding life protection sector.

Dyneema is available to the market as unidirectional sheet (UD) for use against ballistic threats. In this sector, key applications for Dyneema are highly diverse and range from personal protection bullet-resistant vests, inserts to helmets and anti-ballistic protection for both military and police vehicles. All personal and vehicle protection applications using Dyneema UD benefit from its unique combination of light weight and high protective ability. Dyneema UD for personal protection comes in two variants: soft ballistic (Dyneema SB21 & SB31) for vests and hard ballistics (Dyneema HB2 & 50 for inserts and Dyneema HB26 for helmets).

Subsequently, Dyneema UD used in personal protective equipment and clothing provides for increased comfort due to its lower weight, and is therefore comfortable to wear in extreme circumstances and over long periods of time. Specifically for bullet-resistant vests, materials made with Dyneema fibre allow full freedom of movement because of their light weight.

Additionally armour plates made with Dyneema UD can be molded to fit the shape and size of the body which can then be inserted into garments. This allows for products to be made that enhance both confidence and wearing comfort for those in the line of fire.

Panel armouring with Dyneema UD for vehicles offers improved design flexibility, as panels can be custom-shaped. Dyneema UD is a light weight, cost effective alternative to metal armoring to protect occupants from direct fire, landmine and improvised explosive device (IED) threats. The lower weight of solutions based on Dyneema UD improve the vehicle’s performance and payload, and facilitates easier installation of the armor.

DSM Dyneema has its own well-equipped testing facilities and is continuously looking at material improvements and application developments in collaboration with different institutes, customers and end users.


Vehicle protection applications using Dyneema UD benefit from its unique combination of light weight and exceptional protective ability. Applications include spall liners and armour panels for military vehicles, police vehicles, VIP vehicles, transporters, aircraft, ships, and helicopters.

The Dyneema HB series is used for hard, rigid ballistic protection like bullet resistance panels for vehicles from offering lightweight protection against fragments, Dyneema HB products protect against most threats listed in NATO STANAG, EN, NIJ up to rifle bullets like the 7.62x51 NATO ball and the Kalashnikov AK47. On a weight-for-weight basis, it is up to 15 times stronger than steel and up to 40 percent stronger than aramid fibres. Dyneema floats on water and is extremely durable and resistant to moisture, UV light and chemicals. Its applications, therefore, are more or less unlimited.

Patria XA188 of the Netherlands Army, in operations in Afghanistan, Helmand province. Equipped with Dyneema® on the inside of the vehicle to reduce the effects of spall generated by roadside bombs, grenades and RPGs. © Richard Frigge AVDD

Patria XA188 of the Netherlands Army, in operations in Afghanistan, Helmand province.
Equipped with Dyneema® on the inside of the vehicle to reduce the effects of spall
generated by roadside bombs, grenades and RPGs. © Richard Frigge AVDD

Currently, Dyneema HB26 is being used by US, UK and other NATO forces to up-armour vehicles in theatre that are most exposed to roadside bombs and explosively formed penetrators (EFPs). Dyneema has proven to be one of the very few capable ingredients to offer capable protection at very light additional weight.

Dyneema UD sheet is a construction of several layers, with the direction of fibres in each layer placed at 90° to the direction of the fibres in the adjacent layers. This unidirectional configuration allows the energy transferred from the impact of a bullet or other threat to be distributed along the fibres much faster and more efficiently than in conventional woven fabrics. Depending upon the application and threat, armour panels and spall liners made with Dyneema UD composite can protect against:

  • The full range of ammunition defined in European Standard EN1522-1
  • Military ball ammunition, including AK47 mild steelcore bullets
  • Antitank projectiles up to 14.5 mm (combined with a ceramic or steel strike face)
  • Tank-penetrating projectiles such as APDS kinetic energy projectiles and shaped-charge, high-energy ammunition
  • Mines
  • Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), EFPs

Panels made with Dyneema UD composite are significantly lighter than conventional panels, helping to minimize the effect of armor weight on a vehicle’s center of gravity, speed and maneuverability. Armour made with Dyneema with steel or ceramic strike faces can reduce density by 50%-75% compared to all steel armour.

Vehicle armour made with Dyneema UD resists degradation from moisture, chemicals and UV light. The material meets the most common standards for flame retardancy (e.g. FAR 25.853, DIN 4102 class B2, FMVSS 302). The composite also offers superior high and low temperature resistance and excellent aging resistance. These performance properties make Dyneema UD an excellent choice for harsh climates and temperature extremes. Further, the material exhibits positive buoyancy, making it appropriate for marine operations.

Panels and liners made with Dyneema UD can be cut using standard equipment, and can be given any shape, conforming to the irregular contours of both large and small vehicles.


As threats increase and greater demands are placed on law enforcement, security and military forces, there is an urgent need for body armor that can provide enhanced protection, including multi-hit and edge protection, combined with lighter weight.

TenCate Advanced Armour, manufacturer of insert plates, have combined their expertise to develop best-inclass fiber-only (monolithic) inserts to be used in hard ballistic body armour. These inserts, which feature proprietary technology from TenCate and Dyneema HB50 UD technology from DSM Dyneema, result in lower weight total body armour, which allows the possibility of adding additional protection to other body areas.

TenCate Aresshield inserts are made with Dyneema HB50, the new standard in ballistic protection for standalone fiber-based inserts. Tests with Dyneema HB50 have shown a significant increase in performance - up to 20% compared to Dyneema HB2 - and results support the long track record of the Dyneema fibre in ballistic applications. Therefore inserts made with Dyneema HB50 are able to absorb the impact rifles threats such as AK47 and Nato Ball.

Local manufacturers Zhong Tian Feng Protection Products Technology Company Ltd. (ZTF) are using soft and hard ballistics made with Dyneema in the manufacturer of 3,000 bullet-resistant vests and helmets for the Beijing Bureau of Public Security ready for the upcoming 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. This follows Dyneema SB21 UD’s selection by Techcom Security Technology Limited of Hong Kong in an order for body armour for the Hong Kong Police Force capable of defeating steel core ammunition. The requirement called for a solution capable of stopping Chinese Type 51B steel core ammunition shot from a Type 54 pistol at a speed of 411 +/- 12 m/sec. The bullet-resistant vests are the first soft ballistics to meet the required level of protection of the Hong Kong police force; conventional vests utilize hard-pressed panels or metal while the Dyneema SB21 UD composite can replace metal and other rigid materials in bullet-resistant vests. Protective applications made with Dyneema offers a unique combination of stopping power, light weight and flexibility to this body armour, which incorporates ballistic packs manufactured by Chongqing Jinguan New Technology Co.


Personnel using Dyneema on their personal protection solution also benefit from its protection in the platform they are carried. Dyneema HB25 is now in service with the South Korea Navy’s LSF-II hovercraft and PKX fast patrol boats as protection from ballistic impact and fire using an aluminium and glass-epoxy resin layer to panels made with Dyneema HB25. This has significantly reduced overall weight while remaining flame retardant properties. Samyang Comtech Co., Ltd., (Samyang), developed the boat armour panels for the ROK Navy and is now available for marine and also for vehicle applications worldwide.


In two cases in 2003 a bullet resistant vest constructed using Polybenzobisoxazole (PBO) a based fibres was penetrated in the USA resulting in serious injury to the police officer wearing the vest. Even though the vest in question was fairly new, this incident raised concerns about how aging might induce a change in the performance over time of the polymeric materials used in body armour constructions.

Due to the lack of any accepted standard or test technique to measure the life time expectancy of bullet resistant body armour, DSM Dyneema defined an accelerated aging technique in which both Dyneema yarn and Dyneema UD were exposed to high temperature and relative humidity for a total of eight weeks. A scientific technique -Arrhenius equation - was used to relate the accelerated aging data to ambient aging.

The study confirmed that Dyneema shows excellent performance retention upon aging.

After eight weeks of accelerated aging at 65°C (149°F) and 80% r.h., all Dyneema UD soft ballistic grades (Dyneema SB21, Dyneema SB31) show no significant change in V50 performance.

All Dyneema SB grades show a V50 performance retention of more than 95 percent. V50 values were measured for six ballistic packs for each measurement date and an average value was recorded. A 9 mm steel jacketed bullet was used for V50 measurements.

The research has been published in the international peer reviewed Journal of Materials Science in April 2007. The fact that DSM Dyneema has published and shared the results demonstrates the commitment and ethical responsibility of DSM Dyneema to help the global life protection industry in its effort to improve the life time expectancy assessment of body armour based on polymeric materials.

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