Center Will Test DuPont™ Kevlar® Mark IV and Other Advanced Ballistics Materials to Develop Hybrid Personal Protection and Armoring Solutions
To support initiatives by the United States military to help improve the performance of protective equipment and lighten the soldier’s load, DuPont Protection Technologies announced its Armor Technology Center, dedicated to next-generation protective helmet and composite materials research. Located at the company’s Chestnut Run site in Wilmington, Del., this research and development facility will draw upon the latest advances in life protection technologies to design, produce and test prototypes of helmets and composite panels for military helmet and vehicle armor applications.
Among the new technologies used in the helmet designs and composites being evaluated at the center is DuPont™ Kevlar® Mark IV, a recent high-performance offering that is a component in the prototype combat helmet designs being evaluated by the U.S. Marine Corps Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH) program. Kevlar® Mark IV is a thermoplastic resin matrix material that provides more protection per weight than existing aramid-phenolic composites. It can help to improve performance and reduce helmet thickness and cost for the ECH program and potentially in other emerging helmet designs including the Next Generation Helmet solicitation issued on September 21, 2009.
“The research and development capabilities of the Armor Technology Center significantly enhance our ability to meet the safety and protection needs of military personnel and first responders around the world,” said Thomas G. Powell, vice president and general manager -- DuPont Protection Technologies. “Kevlar® fiber has been a component of military helmets for more than 30 years. In fact, it is the most widely used aramid fiber in the Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH) worn today by U.S. troops. This latest offering, Kevlar® Mark IV, is just one of the innovations we expect to deliver from the Armor Technology Center to help the military meet its requirements for ballistics protection.”
This Armor Technology Center will tap into DuPont expertise in a variety of disciplines to support the development of more protective helmets for U.S. troops. DuPont experience with overall personal protection technology, armor design, high-speed measurement, simulation, composite processing, resins and computerized ballistic modeling will enable faster, more accurate and more cost-effective design and development of next-generation body armor. In addition, the ability to produce prototype armor panels will make it possible to leverage these capabilities into vehicle protection, tactical plate, and composite panel applications.
“The ECH helmet specifications contain a range of requirements, including ballistic performance, durability and heat resistance,” said John Dottore, DuPont program manager for military body armor and helmets. “For that reason, we think the ECH will be a hybrid solution, combining Kevlar® with other ballistic or composite-type fibers. I believe that our resources — including this facility, the proven performance of Kevlar®, our experience with hybrid solutions, and access to proprietary modeling tools — make us uniquely equipped to develop such a solution.”
DuPont’s commitment to advanced personal protection solutions has totaled more than $40 million in research and development annually over the past three years, enabling significant increases in advanced personal protective equipment and continued development of next-generation technologies. Additional DuPont personal protection R&D facilities are located in Richmond, Va.; Meyrin, Switzerland; Luxembourg; Shanghai, China; São Paulo, Brazil and Hyderabad, India.
DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.
- For more information on helmets made with DuPont™ Kevlar®, click here.
- For more information on DuPont in support of the U.S. Military, click here.
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