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kevlar wall panels

Benefits of Using Ballistic Kevlar Wall Panels

Investing in Kevlar panels provides high-level bullet resistance for your home or office in a lightweight and versatile way. Kevlar is a brand name for a type of para-aramid fibers known to provide: excellent strength to weight ratio, chord modulus, high tenacity, minimal creep, and about 3.5% elongation at break.

Kevlar is often referred to as opaque armor or soft armor due to its extreme protective abilities. 

History of Kevlar As Bullet Proof Fabric

The full name for the material branded as Kevlar is “poly para phenylene terephthalamide”, invented by a chemist working for Dupont in 1964. Kevlar was born out of the need for more efficient automotive tires in anticipation of a national gasoline shortage. Chemists there were attempting to create lightweight tires with additional durability. The inventor inadvertently concocted the polymer solution, and it was bound for disposal, but the chemist decided to test it. 
 
To the team’s amazement, they found the fibers did not break, unlike nylon. Over the ensuing decades, applications found for this high-strength fiber increased exponentially, including it’s use as bullet-stopping armor.

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How Kevlar Ballistic Panels Are Made

Kevlar is created through the chemical reaction of various monomers through condensation, resulting in liquid crystalline comportment. A mechanical process orients the polymer in an effective direction. Production requires sulfuric acid to keep the water-insoluble polymers combined in the solution during its synthesis. Production of the material is expensive due to the challenges related to using concentrated sulfuric acid.

Types of Kevlar Panels

There is more than just one type of Kevlar material. It comes in a variety of material types, each with different benefits, including:

Kevlar K-29: found in industrial applications, such as solid cables or vehicle armor.

Graph showing tenacity of kevlar compared to steel and glass

Kevlar K49: found in essential cable and rope products.

Kevlar K129: features very high tenacity for ballistic applications, like ballistic panels.

Kevlar AP – Adds 15% higher tensile strength than K-29

Kevlar XP – lighter weight resin and KM2 plus fiber combination

Kevlar KM2 – enhanced ballistic resistance for armor applications

Risk Factors For Kevlar Wall Panels

Kevlar is highly resilient to frigid temperatures; even in negative 300 degrees Fahrenheit, the material’s protection doesn’t degrade – it performs slightly better. 
 
Kevlar also stands up well in warm temperatures. At extremes, it can eventually degrade. At temperatures over 300 degrees, it may result in a 10% decrease of strength after 100s of hours – in other words.
 
However, it is subject to damage from ultraviolet rays, so Kevlar for use in outdoors applications typically will include some form of sunlight protection.
 
Modern Kevlar is improved to be resistant to water, but long-term presence may hinder its effectiveness in stopping bullets. Moisture will oppose the bonds keeping the fibers tight, allowing a bullet to more easily push these fibers aside, thus potentially allowing a bullet to penetrate through. Therefore, we encase ballistic panels made of Kevlar designed for exterior environments in weather-resistant materials.

 

Applications Bullet Resistant Kevlar

 

The application most well known is as a protective material. Para-aramids are a critical component in the personal protection in the US Army (as well as many other countries) in everything from combat helmets to ballistic vests. In helmets, the nature of the material helps stop bullets and refracts them to avoid cranial injury.

Its lightweight nature makes it convenient for soldier use. Kevlar panels are also used within armored vehicles and even some aircraft to prevent spall from explosive shells. Another popular application of Kevlar is in manufacturing bomb blankets. Its low weight allows civilians to carry it easily.

In addition to protection from bullets used by SWAT and military personnel, Kevlar is also used by firefighters for its high heat resistance.

manufacturing process of bullet resistant kevlar
Chemical structure of Kevlar, shown with hydrogen bonds

Residential Kevlar Panel Installation

Kevlar sheets are effective in residential safe room applications. Contractors can conveniently add Kevlar panels to residential walls, fitting panels between the wall’s studs for high-level bullet resistance.

The low weight of para-aramid bulletproof panels – much less than other ballistic materials – makes them a good choice for bulletproofing doors and other moveable items.

There are some downsides to using Kevlar for armoring your safe room walls. While they stop bullets and knife attacks, they may not prevent all forms of forced entry attacks. Their flexible nature makes them susceptible to prying and possibly being pulled right out of the wall if another reinforcement isn’t present.

Like most ballistic materials, that they are opaque. With the right tools (our team can advise you), cut-outs can be made in the ballistic Kevlar sheets to make room for windows. Our custom bulletproof glass windows grant equal protection for these areas.

Kevlar Fibers Vs Steel

 
If you have a chance to handle Kevlar material, you may have a hard time believe such a flexible material would stop a bullet. Yet bulletproof Kevlar is often called “soft steel”. 
 

testing tensile strength of steel armor

The reason ballistic Kevlar material is effective is thanks to both its chemical structure and the method of its manufacture. Kevlar starts as a long, thin chain of molecules. These molecules extend and form straight parallel chains. Because of this configuration, the chains form abundant hydrogen bonds, which act like glue. 
 
To put Kevlar’s strength to the test, scientists take a strand of Kevlar and compare it to a piece of steel. Though the same size, the steel is ten times the weight. The tensile testing machine used can pull the samples apart with a max force of 5.5 tons. As seen in the video above, the steel is viewed through a high-speed camera to display what happens when it precisely breaks.

Testing tensile strength of kevlar fibers

As it’s stretching apart, you can see the steel wire is straightening out until abruptly snapping. The graph indicates the steel broke under 110 lbs of force.

The scientist next tests the Kevlar fabric. It behaves quite differently than the steel, almost like a taught ribbon while being pulled. As it fails, you can see the fibers popping, nearly one at a time – it fails in a different way to the stainless steel. 

The graph shows the Kevlar doesn’t break until an impressive 440 lbs of force. Kevlar can be manufactured with such toughness that it now has 8-9 times the strength of steel of comparative weight.

Why Choose Kevlar for Reinforcement?

In all, bullet proof fabric such as Kevlar panels provides a wealth of options for securing a home, both during construction and afterwards. To learn more about conveniently protecting your home, please contact us.

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Our expert team will guide you in the right application of opaque armoring for your home, whether it’s in the planning, construction or living phase.