Chinese oil giant Sinopec develops military-grade fiber with multiple applications


China has developed its own fiber that is strong, light and resistant to heat and corrosion, which can be used to make body armor and other protective components for precision instruments or military hardware, Liu Xuanzun reports on Global Times.


Chinese oil giant Sinopec develops military grade fiber with multiple applications
Chinese soldiers sitting in a Brave Warrior light armored vehicle in China's V-Day military parade, and the 06-type heavy body armors worn by the two soldiers made their first appearance (Picture source: en.Chinamil.com)


After 16 years of development, state-owned oil giant Sinopec announced it had developed a type of para-aramid fiber nicknamed "golden silk," Beijing-based newspaper Science and Technology Daily reported on Saturday 22 November. Kevlar is a similar type of material.

The new material is a strategic asset to the country and the military, which can be used for a wide range of applications in both civilian and military fields, like the making of cables, optical fibers, frame materials and composite materials, the report said.

A standard application for "golden silk" is to make body armor, which weighs only 1.5 kilograms and is many times more efficient than a steel plate in taking and dispersing kinetic energy from bullets and shrapnel. With this fiber, body armor can even block rapid fire from a light machine gun, according to the report.

The material can also be used in the manufacturing process of vehicles, ships, aircraft and rockets, as it provides extra-structural strength and resistance to harsh environments, a military expert who asked not to be named told the Global Times on Sunday 24 November.

Sinopec said in a statement that China used to trail foreign countries in making high-performance fibers, and related technologies were controlled by those countries as they kept inflating the price and banned supply in military use. With the domestically developed technology, the fiber now becomes affordable and is available to the Chinese military and arms industry, the expert said.

The development of "golden silk" has broken the blockade of foreign countries and can further boost China's capability in military equipment development, the company said, noting that the Chinese fiber can be considered as advanced as other similar materials developed globally.


 

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