New blast resistant fabric from Porcher Industries

New para-aramid based fabric has been developed to provide soldiers with an extra level of protection against improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in garments worn next to the skin.

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In response to the long term demand and requests of soldier’s agencies including the UK MoD DSTL and the USA DoD PEO, a new para-aramid based fabric by the Aerospace and Defense Business Unit for Porcher Industries (Eclose-Badinières, France) has been developed to provide soldiers with an extra level of protection against improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The new fabric is light in weight and designed for use in garments worn next to the skin.

Ever since their parallel development in both the US and Europe in the early 1970s, para-aramid fibres have undoubtedly saved many lives. As a class of strong synthetic fibres, with extremely high temperature resistance they have been employed to manufacture gloves, sleeves, jackets, chaps and other articles of protective clothing designed to protect users from cuts and abrasions, as well as heat. They also form the basis for multiple-layered, reinforced fabrics as the leading choice for bullet-proof vests.

Para-aramid based protective fabrics are also often considerably lighter and thinner than their equivalents made of more traditional materials, such as metallic fibres or densely-woven cloth.

“Our newly developed material has undergone a full range of both bullet and fragmentation tests and is proven to protect against fragments which are propelled at lower speeds,” says Charlie Exton, a defence specialist at Porcher Industries. “Because it’s so light it takes out the dust, glass and small stones that can be blown at people and penetrate regular fabrics when an IED goes off. In an emergency situation, the medics can find the larger metal pieces easily enough, but when it comes to hundreds of stone and dirt fragments it becomes difficult, so it’s preferable to be equipped against them. It’s an issue the military is currently looking at around the world, in moving to the next step in personal protection for soldiers.”