Thermal Processing and Composite Laminate Formation of Ionic Block Copolymers for Protective Clothing

Report No. ARL-TR-2892
Authors: James Harris, Yossef A. Elabd, Eugene Napadensky, and Paul Moy
Date/Pages: December 2002; 17 pages
Abstract: The future U.S. Army soldier will require lightweight, flexible, durable, and selectively protective clothing for the battlefield. Current chemical protective clothing is worn as an overgarment and is impermeable to moisture vapor, imposing unbearable amounts of heat stress on the soldier. A new material, an ionic block copolymer, developed by researchers at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, is both flexible and a ?breathable? protective barrier. This study focuses on thermally processing and laminating this new material onto the standard battle dress uniform (BDU). Polymer films were produced by cryogenically grinding the polymer to a powder and then thermally pressing it into a film. Films were pressed at 1.15 H 107 Pa (1668 psi) and 100 ?C and were uniform in thickness, with thicknesses ranging from 254 to 300 ?m (10?13 mils) from film to film. Films were then laminated onto a standard cotton/nylon BDU fabric using a similar pressure, but lower temperature (50 ?C). The polymer/fabric composite nearly doubled the thickness of the fabric and increased the weight threefold. Additionally, infrared spectroscopy revealed no chemical change occurred in the pressed polymer films due to thermal processing.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: December 1, 2002