To quantify the impact of mechanical degradation on ballistic fibers, NIST developed a novel device for controlled folding of yarns and woven fabrics. In addition, we developed test protocols that employ single fibers to assess the effect of folding using a recently developed modified single fiber test and a newly acquired commercial, rapid, automated fiber testing apparatus. Morphological changes in the folded fibers are being quantified by small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS).
Systematic and controlled extraction procedures designed around the molecular architecture of the ballistic fibers are also being developed to elucidate the factors that cause their hydrolytic degradation. The extracted material is being evaluated by x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, matrix assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry (MS), and a newly acquired gas chromatography(GC)/MS. These techniques are augmented by the use of novel derivatization methods to facilitate the detection of compounds suspected of causing hydrolytic degradation.