Ballistic Properties of Zylon for Application to Firearm Projectile Protection

Report No. ARL-CR-529
Authors: E. Pineda, C. Hogue, and W. Goldsmith
Date/Pages: July 2003; 24 pages
Abstract: In recent years, a para-phenylene benzobisoxazole fiber, Zylon (registered trademark of the Toyobo Company) has surfaced as a potential candidate for body armor to possibly replace Kevlar (registered trademark of DuPont). Zylon's effectiveness depends on its ballistic properties as well as its mass in comparison with Kevlar. The present extended investigation focuses on determining the ballistic limit and the V50 velocity for 10, 20, and 30 stitched plies of Zylon using standard North Atlantic Treaty Organization 9-mm nonrotating strikers. This report concentrates specifically on the ballistic limit of 10-ply Zylon, as well as the effect that impact location has on perforation. It was also discovered that many other factors affect the ballistic performance, including slip of the fabric in the holder, the preparation of the shell, and the amount of fiber damage present. These aspects will be considered when evaluating Zylon's performance and determining whether or not it is indeed superior to Kevlar for applications in body armor and personnel protection. The first instance of perforation for 10-ply Zylon occurred at an initial velocity of 341.4 m/s, and the highest initial velocity for a ricochet was 566.2 m/s.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: July 1, 2003