We talk a lot about technologies that are designed to make the life of motorcyclists safer, more comfortable, and even reduce the burden on the environment. Many manufacturers of composite fabrics seek to place traditional materials such as leather at the forefront because they require fewer resources to create the final product, they need less energy to process, and most importantly, they last longer. This in turn helps to reduce carbon emissions and waste.
Motorcyclists have heard such materials as:
But there is another patented brand that makes the life of motorcyclists, athletes, tourists and military personnel many times safer – Dyneema. We are used to tying it with denim, because it is in motorcycle jeans that Dyneema fibers are intertwined for greater strength than others. But you will be surprised because these fibers are present even in motorcycle helmets.
What is Dyneema®?
Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene. It is also called thermoplastic polyethylene. This means that in fact the material falls within the radius of the plastic definition: it is “docile” and can be molded above a certain temperature. The melting point is considered to be 135-190 ° C. But it solidifies on cooling, much like metals. Dyneema differs from metals in that after cooling it does not become hard and brittle, but retains a measure similar to conventional textiles. This particular combination of factors means that the material is extremely flexible yet retains incredible strength. Hence the familiar comparisons with steel to users.
Dyneema was accidentally discovered in the course of research on polyethylene as early as 1968. A chemist, Dr. Albert Pennings, who worked for DSM (now a manufacturer of the material under the brand name Dyneema®), as a result of his experiments, obtained a fiber that he could not break.
It should be noted that Dyneema has analogues. The America3 racing boat used a similar fabric called Cuben Fiber in its sails when it won the America’s Cup in 1992. DSM bought out the manufacturer of this material and merged into a common production, but other manufacturers of similar materials remained. They can be found under the names: Teijin (Endumax), Ticona, Braskem, and Mitsui.
In industry, fiber production began in the 1970s using the fiber synthesis method – “gel spinning” or in other words – “gel spinning”. According to the technology, the starting material is placed in a decalin solvent. Then it is squeezed into an aqueous solution and the resulting gel is processed at a temperature of 100 degrees. The material is pulled out, and the excess solvent is removed. In the process, the molecules twist into fibers, lose their intermolecular bonds and acquire an almost parallel orientation of the molecules, which, together with the ultra-high molecular weight, gives the fibers such unique properties.
The fibers can be woven into a single fabric or added to other products. Today, Dyneema, like Kevlar, is used in almost all areas of human activity. The manufacturer filmed an interesting video showing the benefits of the material for motorcyclists. I advise you to watch the video, since here are shown the moments of the production of the material, and the format itself is very similar to the Icon videos.
It is very important to consider what percentage of fibers is contained in the equipment and what materials they are combined with. You may notice that Dyneema is found in the same outfit as Kevlar. I share my observation. Some motorcyclists worry that textile gear can become carbonized during the friction in the slipper and damage the rider’s skin. Since Dyneema’s characteristics indicate melting at a temperature of 135 degrees, manufacturers advise to be careful, if the temperature exceeds 100 degrees, the material becomes more plastic. Therefore, the combination with Kevlar, which does not know such troubles, makes motorcycle jeans very beneficial for motorcyclists, because both of these fibers have more than good indicators of abrasion and tearing.
Other characteristics of Dyneema:
- Resistant to many harsh chemicals and UV
- Extremely abrasion and tear resistant
- Decent level of frost resistance
- No material memory effect
- Lightweight material
What other gear should you look for Dyneema?
If you think that ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene can only be in outerwear or woven clothing, then you are wrong. The military industry has found use for the material in helmets and helmets. And as I said, it is not far from the military industry to the protective equipment of motorcyclists, engineers quickly adopt everything for the safety of motorcyclists. Looking through the manuals for Icon helmets, which become an enviable example of the use of durable fibers, you can find in the composition of Dyneema.
For example Icon Variant Pro Construct pay attention to the structure in layers, at number two we see Dyneema, which makes the helmet noticeably lighter without taking away the strength as a result.