Kevlar and Behind Armor Blunt Trauma (BABT)

As popular as kevlar is for law enforcement and military personnel, one primary concern of kevlar in body armor has been the potential of Behind Armor Blunt Trauma (BABT).
GILBERT, Ariz. - Jan. 12, 2023 - PRLog -- Since its accidental discovery in 1965 by Stephanie Kwolek, at Dupont, Kevlar has been a preferred material in protective armor, as well as many other applications. Since the mid 1970's, kevlar in body armor has provided a more lightweight and concealable armor option. With its unique strength, there is however a shortcoming of kevlar that continues to be reviewed and improved.

Kevlar Composition

Kevlar is a manufactured plastic, and it's made of a chemical compound called poly-para-phenylene terephthalamide. This chemical is made from creating a chemical reaction between an acid and a chemical solution containing nitrogen and hydrogen. This process results in chemical chains composed of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen. These chains naturally form small straight "rods" on the molecular level. These chains are incredibly strong on their own. Once the chemical compound has been made, the resulting solution is then "spun" while the solution is still wet, yet highly viscous. The spinning process orients all of the chains to be parallel, while enabling the hydrogen bonds on the sides of the chain to act as a glue, keeping the chains together and creating supreme strength.

Behind Armor Blunt Trauma (BABT) from Kevlar Vests

In July 2022, published an experimental study of BABT impacts, while using 29 layer kevlar, both biaxial and triaxial fabrics.  The experiment evaluated bullet impact from a Winchester 9mm FMJ Parabellum round, and focused on five selected areas on the body considered critical, from the point of maintaining a human's vital function. The study concluded BABT in kevlar vests can lead to a wide variety of injuries, ranging from minor, non-life threatening injuries (with no significant consequences for those affected) to significant, potentially fatal injuries. However, it is assumed that the geometric structure of the fabric has a significant influence on the maximum pressure amplitude, therefore the potential of BABT can be minimized with the geometric structure of kevlar fabric.

Kevlar is here to stay and as its technology advances, the concern of BABT in kevlar, is becoming less of a concern. Due to its popularity among law enforcement and military personnel, many advances have already been made and no doubt will continue to improve the protection provided by kevlar armor.

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Ryan Shideler
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Tags:Body Armor
Location:Gilbert - Arizona - United States
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