The World’s Strongest Synthetic Fibers
Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene fibers (UHMWPE) are extremely strong and are the lightest of all ultra-strong fibers. The ultimate strength can exceed 3000 MPa. However, due to its low melting point of about 145°C (295°F) they are not suitable for elevated temperature applications. The fiber is mainly used in protective clothing like ballistic vests, helmets, cut-resistant glove etc.
Aramid Fibers (Kevlar®)
Aramid fibers are a class of heat-resistant and extremely strong synthetic fibers. The ultimate strength of some aramid fibers can exceed 3500 MPa. Aramid has an outstanding strength-to-weight ratio, even better than carbon, and excellent dimensional stability due to the high young's modulus. But its upper service temperature is lower than that of carbon fibers.
Polybenzoxazole (PBO) is a high-performance, heat-resistant fiber with a benzene-fused oxazole ring structure. The fiber is almost twice as strong as aramid fibers (Kevlar, Nomex) and about 10 times stronger than steel making it the strongest manmade organic fiber. It also has a 100°C higher decomposition temperature than aramid and exhibits very little creep under stress making it suitable for high continuous loads.
Polyarylate fibers are high-performance multifilament yarns spun from liquid crystal polymers (LCP). This superfiber exhibits exceptional strength and rigidity. For example, the fiber is five times stronger than steel and ten times stronger than aluminum. The Vectran fiber has been chosen for NASA space systems due to its outstanding performance properties.
Carbon fibers are one of the strongest man-made fibers and have an outstanding strength-to-weight ratio and excellent rigidity. The ultimate strength of some carbon fibers can exceed 6000 MPa. Carbon-fiber-reinfoced-plastics find many uses in the sport goods, automotive and aerospace industry. They are used for light-weight structures where a high strength-to-weight ratio and rigidity is required.