Dyneema SB71, a unidirectional (UD) grade of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fiber designed for use in ballistic vests certified under National Institute of Justice (NIJ) 0101.06 and other law enforcement and military standards has been introduced by DSM Dyneema. The company reports the new material grade improves the protection level that can be provided by soft ballistic (SB) armor — building on technology offered in DSM's portfolio of UD grades including SB51, SB31 and SB21 — while offering increased wearer comfort owing to its light weight.
"The new material meets the NIJ0101.06 standards along solutions made with other Dyneema UD grades, but with an average 15% weight saving," said Ernst Jan van Klinken, global marketing director, DSM Dyneema. "And moreover, all the other Dyneema UD grade based solutions are already lighter than other non-PE vest solutions." In addition to providing lighter-weight protection compared with non-PE fibers and maintaining good ballistic properties over time, Dyneema SB71 offers chemical, ultraviolet and moisture resistance, making it suitable for use in a variety of environments.
DSM Dyneema developed SB71 in close cooperation with body armor manufacturers and end-users, and according to van Klinken, the material offers manufacturers advantages including time, cost and material reductions. Germany-based ballistic solutions provider BSST GmbH has manufactured a vest using SB71 that is certified under Germany's Schutzklasse SK1 standard, as well as a vest that is certified under NIJ 0101.06 Level IIIA. Australia-based ballistic armor manufacturer Tote Systems Australia Pty Ltd. also is using SB71 to create NIJ-compliant law enforcement and military protective body armor for the Australian army. SB71 may be combined with trauma liners and stab resistance solutions in vests to meet various international standards; may be used in both tactical and concealed vest designs; and allows vests designed with low backface signature to remain thin, light and comfortable. In addition, vests can be upgraded to offer protection against heavier rifle fire using inserts made with Dyneema.