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    Rights: The University of Waikato
    Published 31 May 2010 Referencing Hub media

    Traditional stab and flame-resistant fabrics are inflexible and heavy, so they are uncomfortable to wear for extended lengths of time. Senior Scientist Dr Stewart Collie compares the new fabric with Kevlar – a traditional protective fabric. He explains the advantages of the new fabric and how the structure and the embedded wool fibre contributes to this.

    Questions to consider:
    Can you think of other advantages this new fabric has over the traditional fabric?

    Dr Stewart Collie (AgResearch
    The traditional fabrics that are used for stab-resistant garments involve using multiple layers of woven fabrics made out of fibres like Kevlar. It’s very stiff fabric, very inextensible, and you wouldn't want to wear a garment made out of it, because it wont move or flex when you do. And also it becomes very heavy as well.

    So the idea of incorporating some wool into there is quite different. We still have a high-performance synthetic fibre involved, but we have added a lot of wool to the structure as well. And what that does is improves the way that the fabric feels, just to pick up and handle, but also how comfortable it is when you're wearing it. So in comparison, the fabric that we have developed looks and feels like a conventional fabric. It’s got quite good drape, it’s got a little bit of extensibility, and with the wool in there, it’s going to be more comfortable to wear in a garment.