2 August 2016

The Downside to Kevlar Work Gloves

Why Kevlar is not the best fit for protective gloves 

Para-aramid fibre, known most commonly by the trade name Kevlar, is often seen as the gold standard in offering lightweight protection. Introduced commercially by US chemical company DuPont in 1971, para-aramid synthetic fibre has been used for a range of purposes such as tyres, sports equipment and, probably most famously, body armour.

Its perceived benefits of being a light yet strong material have also made it a favourite amongst manufacturers of personal protective equipment. Those working in waste, oil and gas, manufacturing and engineering industries often use clothing that incorporates para-aramid fibre. Yet while this ‘bullet-proof’ material might be good for vests or trousers, it has several shortcomings when used for protective gloves.

Outside weakness 

The two main considerations when looking at gloves are protection and dexterity. In regards protection, para-aramid fibre can lose its strength when it comes into contact with conditions common to those industries mentioned above, particularly when used outside.

The first drawback is that para-aramid fibre is significantly weakened by ultra-violet light, degrading twice as fast as polyester. Therefore, those working in daylight outside could find that their gloves lose protective strength more quickly than they would expect. The fibre can be treated with a UV resistant coating, but this can drive up expense.

Another key point for those who operate in wet, damp or oily environments is that para-aramid fibre absorbs moisture, which can affect its performance. One study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that the effects of moisture on Kevlar were substantial, resulting in a 35% loss of strength at 25 degrees centigrade.

It has also been noted that there is a rapid loss of strength in Kevlar when it is flexed or folded – a significant disadvantage in gloves.

Reduced dexterity 

Finally, to offer Cut-level 3 and Cut-level 5 protection in safety gloves, para-aramid fibre needs to be reasonably thick, which reduces the dexterity of the wearer. So while they might be initially protected from whatever they are handling, workers will not be as nimble as they could be, which could lead to mistakes or accidents.

Perfect protection and performance 

TraffiGlove has developed gloves that overcome these negative elements of para-aramid fibre to offer superior cut protection and dexterity at levels 3 and 5. Using advanced yarn technology, TraffiGlove is able to provide a range of gloves that offer high cut and puncture index protection, while still allowing the wearer a greater freedom of movement. Further, our gloves maintain their strength when used outdoors or in wet or oily conditions.

For more information about how TraffiGlove can offer you the ultimate solution for hand protection contact us here or call on +44 (0) 1344 207090.

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