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M5 Fiber is a high-performance synthetic fiber produced by Magellan Systems and DuPont Advanced Fiber Systems. It was developed by Dr. Doetze Sikkema at Akzo Nobel. The U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center is considering it for the Future Force Warrior program.
Additional recommended knowledge
M5 is stronger and lighter than Aramid and UHMWPE (Dyneema), as well as most current armor materials in personal armor systems. It has excellent flame and thermal protection. It can outperform high performance structural composites, also because it can be glued very well, in contrast with Dyneema. M5 is more fire resistant than meta-Aramid. In fact, it is the most fire resistant fiber yet developed. It's less brittle than carbon fiber and won't snap when stretched and is resistant to ultra-violet rays and acid.
Monomer powder is the raw material of the M5 polymer. Polymers are long, molecular strings containing, in this case, as many as 2,000 repeating rings of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen atoms. Adding an acidic compound that strongly binds to water (diphosphorus pentoxide) to the powder catalyzes a chemical reaction that aligns the monomers and fuses them through chemical bonds along the length of the molecular strings, this is known as a condensation polymerization. This bonding gives M5 some of its properties.
As the polymer solution cools to room temperature, it becomes a pliable, dark red solid that resembles a lump of plastic. The lump is heated and extruded into brightly blue, tiny, barely visible fibers. Later in the production process, the fibers are washed, heated and put under controlled stress. The heat functions to evaporate (part of) the water that is locked in the structure, further enhancing its strength. Tension affects the crystalline structure of the fiber, conferring some of its unique properties.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "M5_fiber". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|