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Effect of Artificial Perspiration and Cleaning Chemicals on the Mechanical and Chemical Properties of Ballistic Fibers



Joannie W. Chin, Sylvain H. Petit, Amanda L. Forster, Kirk D. Rice, Michael A. Riley


During routine field use of soft body armor, the ballistic panels often become saturated with perspiration.  This unsavory condition motivates the user to clean and/or deodorize the armor, and anecdotal evidence is given for various methods used to accomplish this.  While the cleaning/deodorization is usually performed on the armor liners and coverings, there is concern that the chemicals could seep into the ballistic panels.  The purpose of this study is to assess the effect of perspiration and cleaning chemicals on the mechanical and chemical properties of aramid, poly(p-phenylene benzobisoxazole), and ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene ballistic yarns and fabrics following controlled cycles of exposure to artificial perspiration and dilute solutions of common cleaning chemicals.  It was observed that the effect of the artificial perspiration on properties of all materials tested was the same as that of water alone.  Of all of the cleaning chemicals employed, only chlorine bleach had a detrimental on the fiber properties.  All other cleaning chemicals had the same as effect as water alone.  
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) -


rtificial perspiration, body armor, ballistic fibers, poly(benzazole), aramid, ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene, chlorine bleach, infrared spectroscopy, confocal microscopy, tensile testing.


Chin, J. , Petit, S. , Forster, A. , Rice, K. and Riley, M. (2008), Effect of Artificial Perspiration and Cleaning Chemicals on the Mechanical and Chemical Properties of Ballistic Fibers, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed June 23, 2024)


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Created June 1, 2008, Updated February 19, 2017