Helping the Police with Chlorine Chemistry
Life-saving materials used in protective clothing and accessories are produced using chlorine chemistry.
Aramid fibres are made using chlorine chemistry, and are best known for their use in bullet-proof and stab-proof protective armour used by people working in law enforcement and the military. These materials are strong enough to stop bullets but still light enough to be worn as clothing or accessories such as bullet-proof vests and helmets worn by policemen and women. They are up to five times as strong by weight as steel.
Another important application of aramid fibres is in protective clothing worn by workers in industrial settings. They can withstand temperature of up to several hundred degrees so are ideal as textiles for flame- or heat-resistant clothing.
Aramid fibres are a class of synthetic materials made from polymers called aromatic polyamides. They are made by linking 2 different molecules, one of which contains chlorine, together into a polymer chain. When the molecules react and join together, they release another well-known chlorinated compound, hydrochloric acid. The polymer material is then produced by spinning it into fibres which are used to make textiles.
Zinc chlorides also find a role in police uses in items such as smoke grenades and in forensics where they are used, once combined with other chemicals, in fingerprinting due to them glowing under certain types of light!
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- How chlorine chemistry helps link the molecules of the tough fibers of protective equipment needed by police, military and emergency responders on the American Chemistry Council website.
- About DuPont™ Kevlar® aramid fiber used to make a variety of clothing, accessories, and equipment safe and cut resistant on the Dupont website.