All About Twaron®

Twaron has captured a major share of the market for ballistics protection materials. This para-aramid material is strong, light, and resistant to high impact, making it an ideal choice for body armor. Plus, Twaron is highly durable and thermally stable, proving that it is an apt option for flame-resistant (FR) and heat-resistant clothing. Beyond that, the applications for Twaron extend far past protective materials, having applications in oil, civil engineering, and automotive industries, among others. So, what makes this para-aramid fiber so strong? How is it made? And how is it used? We have the answers to these questions and more — as always, you can count on Fiber Brokers International for Twaron scrap recycling, as well as body armor disposal services. Now let’s take a closer look at this diverse material.

What Is Twaron?

Teijin Aramid began producing Twaron after it was invented about three decades ago. This material, like other aramid fibers, is highly durable thanks to its chemical structure and the manufacturing process. Since its creation, Teijin has further innovated its creation and use of this fiber, creating a diverse suite of products which can be hand-picked and customized for any application. Teijin now produces a variety of Twaron offshoots, including high modulus Twaron, high tenacity Twaron, and high elongation Twaron, each offering unique performance in tensile strength, elongation, melting temperature, and other factors.

Twaron is also available in a variety of media, including pulp, fibrids, powder, short-cut fiber, staple fiber, and most notably, their filament yarn. These types of Twaron can be utilized in additional manufacturing processes to create a variety of materials, including plastics, coatings, rubber compounds, papers, and more. Twaron is even available in black or it’s traditional yellow hue. As such, manufacturers can select the product that works best for their application.

How Is Twaron Manufactured?

According to Teijin’s brochure, “The unique characteristics of Twaron® are the result of a 100% paracrystalline structure with molecular chains preferentially oriented along the yarn filament axis.” This unique, crystalline structure lends high-performance characteristics to the fibers that are spun during the manufacturing process.

To manufacture Twaron, Teijin has created a unique process of polymerization, spinning, and final processing to create the desired product. To start, monomers are combined with a solvent to create a polymer. Even the polymer product has the high heat resistance and chemical properties of a traditional para-aramid, though it lacks the mechanical properties and tensile strength of a fiber material.

This polymer is coagulated, washed, and dried to prepare it for the spinning process, where it becomes a fiber, gaining tensile strength and other desired characteristics. During the spinning process, the crystalline polymer is spun into tiny filament yarns, which contain chains that run parallel to the filaments produced. These chains running along the filaments create a gridded structure that is continuously adhered to itself, resulting in high strength (especially tensile strength), while allowing for flexibility.

Once the “yarn” is produced, it can be processed in a number of ways to create Teijin’s various Twaron-based products. The yarn can be wound and packed as a filament yarn (the most recognizable form of Twaron). It can be crimped, dried, and cut to create short-cut fibers. Or it can be cut, suspended, and fibrillated to create pulp.

From there, Twaron can be further customized, and manufacturers can utilize Twaron in their own manufacturing processes, such as layering Twaron filament yarn for ballistic protection. Twaron powders, for instance, can be added to other compounds to create plastics, rubber compounds, and coating materials. And Twaron pulp can be combined with other compounds to create strong specialty papers.

How Is It Used?

As we mentioned, Twaron is used in a diverse number of industries for a variety of applications. You can find Twaron in the ballistics materials industry, automotive industry, oil industry, and more.

  • Ballistics Materials: Twaron is an effective fiber for the creation of body armor. Twaron’s high tensile strength provides vests and other ballistics garments with the strength necessary to resist penetrations, punctures, and cuts that may otherwise be caused by bullets, knives, shrapnel, and other threats. Twaron fibers stretch upon impact from weapons and ballistics, which disperses the force of the impact across the surface of the Twaron. On top of its high strength, Twaron is flexible and lightweight, making it perfect for use as a protective garment. As such, Twaron is an ideal material for bulletproof vests, helmets, and other protective gear, and it has applications in military and police agencies.
  • Protective Surfaces for Armored Vehicles: Similarly to the protection that Twaron provides for ballistics material garments, Twaron can provide effective protection for armored vehicles. Twaron can be layered and treated to make effective armor plating for armor vehicles. Twaron can be manufactured as a vehicle body material, and it can be retrofitted to vehicle bodies to make them protective. Twaron is a desirable protective surface for armored vehicles, thanks to its low weight and easy-to-shape properties.
  • Car Brakes: Twaron pulp can be utilized to make car brakes that rely on high friction and durability properties. Twaron pulp can be combined with a variety of compounds to manufacture high-performance car brakes that reduce the vibration, noise, and harshness of a brake. Twaron can be used in both brake pads and linings.
  • Cut Protection: Twaron is an ideal material for protective garments designed to resist cuts. Cut-protective gloves are often made of Twaron, since it has extraordinary cut resistance — making it an ideal material for workers in manufacturing industries that handle sharp objects, such as metal scrap or glass. Plus, you can pair cut-protection with chemical and heat protection, as well as flexibility, creating protective garments that are comfortable, highly protective, and serve a diverse number of purposes. 
  • Flexible Umbilicals: Twaron performs well as a flexible umbilical solution to provide infrastructure at offshore oil and gas facilities. The flexible, high-endurance, low corrosion material is perfect for flowlines and umbilical cords that make these operations possible.
  • Friction Paper: Friction paper crafted out of Twaron can be used in automatic transmission engines to improve the efficiency of a vehicle. Plus, the high-friction characteristic of Twaron paper makes energy transfer between the engine, and ultimately the wheels, better than other materials out there.
  • FR Clothing: Twaron garments are rated to withstand conditions up to 400-degree Celsius. Twaron is naturally heat and flame resistant, providing protection for firefighters, manufacturers who work in hazardous environments, and more.
  • Ropes and Cables: Twaron has numerous applications for rope and cable manufacturing. It’s longevity, high tensile strength, flexibility, and resistance to heat, corrosion, chemicals, and UV light make it the ideal fiber for these applications. Twaron can even be used as a strong wrapping material for fiber optic cables.

When Does Twaron Expire?

While Twaron has a high longevity, especially when properly cared for or protected, it may deteriorate over time. Body armor is specifically rated to be removed from service after a certain time or specific usage, as defined by the manufacturer. Consult your owner’s manual for specific service life projections and guidelines.

Take note, the National Institute of Justice has guidelines which outline the life expectancy of body armor. In their publication, Selection and Application Guide to Personal Body Armor, the NIJ states that, “age alone does not cause body armor’s ballistic resistance to deteriorate. The care and maintenance of a garment — or the lack thereof — have been shown to have a greater impact than age on the length of service life of a unit of body armor. Armor that is 10 years old and has never been issued may be perfectly acceptable for use, provided that the rated level of protection is still appropriate for the typical threats faced. Conversely, 2- or 3-year-old armor that has been worn regularly and improperly cared for may not be serviceable. […]

However, […] armor should be visually inspected at least once a year and that ballistic tests should be conducted if the armor shows signs of excessive wear. If armor is worn only occasionally and properly maintained, there is no reason to be concerned that ballistic-resistant properties have deteriorated.”

The NIJ continues, noting that the warranty coverage for a given body armor isn’t the same as the service life guideline for the body armor. In the same guide, the NIJ states, “It is important for agencies to recognize that a manufacturer’s warranty should not be interpreted as a benchmark for service life. The warranty exists solely to limit the manufacturer’s liability on the product and is not a reflection of the anticipated service life of the product.”

Be sure to inspect your body armor yearly for signs of damage. Heed the manufacturer’s service life guidelines. And be sure to dispose of body armor that has been damaged or has passed the age of its recommended service life.

How Can Twaron Be Reused or Recycled?

Twaron can be recycled and reused. Thanks to the chemical composition of material, and the fact that it can be broken down into fibers, post-production, Twaron is an ideal material for recycling. In fact, Teijin notes that their product is highly recyclable, and their processes are manufacturing operations are sustainable, stating: “The aramid products in our portfolio are intrinsically capable of enabling sustainability. Twaron® makes lightweight, longlasting, durable solutions possible that help our customers to reduce their carbon footprints and conserve scarce raw materials. We are actively pursuing the reduction of aramid waste at our customers’ production sites by optimizing our product offerings. Remaining aramid waste is reused to create value-added products. Furthermore, we enable used aramid to be recovered from applications, after the end-of-life of the end product has been reached, in order to be recycled into new aramid products. Teijin Aramid is safeguarding the value of aramid products wherever possible[…].”

Twaron ballistics materials can be recycled after their service life has ended, or if they have been damaged. Fiber Brokers provides Twaron ballistics material destruction and recycling services.

Twaron Destruction and Recycling From Fiber Brokers

If you have out-of-service Twaron body armor, Fiber Brokers can provide you with destruction and recycling services that comply with NIJ standards. We provide military and police agencies with the proper paperwork, tracking, and certificates of destruction necessary for secure decommissioning of Twaron ballistics materials. We also purchase and recycle Twaron manufacturing scrap. If you have Twaron products that require recycling, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

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