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Revolutionary structural blast chimney for armored vehicles

News International-French

18 Feb 2011

Composite armor systems specialist Hardwire LLC has developed and successfully demonstrated a blast protection system that utilizes Dyneema®, ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fiber, as part of a suite of solutions that significantly improves the ability of light military vehicles to protect occupants from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) - as unveiled on the 16th of February 2011.

The Structural Blast Chimney, or SBC, is a result of highly effective cooperative work between several key organizations within the defense industry. Hardwire LLC and UHMWPE producer DSM Dyneema have put considerable effort into helping to meet the U.S. armed forces’ increasing needs for explosion protection while in the field.

The two companies began developing a strong cooperative relationship over four years ago, and as a result, battle tested armor systems have successfully been developed and delivered that have protected U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan against evolving threats. The incorporation of innovative, lightweight materials such the hard ballistic composites Dyneema® HB26, Dyneema® HB50 and others, in combination with Hardwire’s customer focused armor design capabilities and out-of-the-box thinking, have allowed the companies to come up with ultra light solutions for emerging IED and EFP (Explosively Formed Projectile) threats.

Hardwire’s SBC technology amplifies the protective properties of a vehicles hull by channeling energy from an explosion under the vehicle toward the center and then vertically away. The effect is not only to shield the occupants from the blast, but also to keep the vehicle firmly on the road. According to Hardwire LLC CEO George Tunis "Solutions with Dyneema® are an integral part of the overall survivability of the vehicle and the Structural Blast Chimney itself. The armor solutions are completely modular, bolt on and off, and can be upgraded anytime or simply taken off for peacetime operations. The fact that armor solutions based on Dyneema® are robust, insulate and sound deadening are factors that make the armor multifunctional and help improve vehicle performance and soldier comfort prior to a life threatening event". In various tests carried out by Hardwire, the vehicle crew compartment remained intact after the explosion, with the occupants (test dummies) surviving with no injuries.

Composite armor systems reinforced with Dyneema® UD products, in conjunction with the Structural Blast Chimney design, have yielded significant and unequalled weight savings in vehicle platforms tested by Hardwire. “These weight savings, along with the unsurpassed survivability of the vehicle, clearly demonstrate that the combination of the right innovative products with an effective design can revolutionize the design of military vehicles”, says David Cordova, VP Business Development at DSM Dyneema.

The Structural Blast Chimney is just the latest example of the ability of Hardwire LLC and DSM Dyneema to work together to develop successful solutions in record time. “There is only one way to explain this phenomenon - both of our organizations believe in mutual trust, in strong cooperation and appropriate coordination in conjunction with the right capabilities,” Cordova emphasized.

George Tunis adds: “DSM Dyneema did not hesitate to bring all their Dyneema® material expertise and support to our team while we were designing the survivability elements for the current system. We have a flexible, innovative team, where our only interest is to deliver innovative, cost effective, practical and adaptive solutions to the soldier and their respective commands. Hardwire LLC and DSM Dyneema are exclusive partners where the Structural Blast Chimney design (this concept) is used”.

DSM Dyneema’s continuing effort to improve its current line of Dyneema® products has established it as a leading supplier of ballistic materials to companies like Hardwire LLC who are advancing vehicle survivability, and is becoming a leading provider of armor solutions to OEMs and the U.S. Department of Defense.


About Hardwire
Hardwire, LLC produces proprietary and unique value-added products for a variety of advanced composite applications including military vehicle armor and protective solutions for critical infrastructure including buildings, bridges, and utilities.


About DSM Dyneema
 DSM Dyneema is the inventor and manufacturer of Dyneema® which is an Ultra High Molecular Weight PolyEthylene (UHMWPE) fiber that offers maximum strength combined with minimum weight. It is up to 15 times stronger than quality steel and up to 40% stronger than aramid fibers, both on weight for weight basis. Dyneema® fiber floats on water and is extremely durable and resistant to moisture, UV light and chemicals. The applications are therefore more or less unlimited. Dyneema® is an important component in ropes, cables and nets in the fishing, shipping and offshore industries. Dyneema® is also used in safety gloves for the metalworking industry and in fine yarns for applications in sporting goods and the medical sector. In addition, Dyneema® is also used in bullet resistant armor and clothing for police and military personnel.
UHMWPE fiber from DSM Dyneema is produced in Heerlen (The Netherlands) and in Greenville, North Carolina (U.S.A.). DSM Dyneema is also a partner in a high modulus polyethylene (HMPE) manufacturing joint venture in Japan.


Source : DSM Dyneema