Zylon (IUPAC name: poly(p-phenylene-2,6-benzobisoxazole)) is a
trademarked name for a range of thermoset liquid-crystalline
polyoxazole. This synthetic polymer material was invented and
SRI International in the 1980s and is manufactured by the
Toyobo Corporation. In generic usage, the fiber is referred to as
Zylon has 5.8
GPa of tensile strength, which is 1.6 times that of
Zylon has a high
Young's modulus of 270 GPa,
meaning that it is very stiff. Like Kevlar,
Zylon is used in a number
of applications that require very high strength with excellent thermal
Tennis racquets, table-tennis blades, snowboards, various
medical applications, and some of the Martian rovers are some of the
1.1 Body armor
1.2 Space elevator research
1.3 High-altitude balloon science
1.5 Standing rigging
1.6 Conductive textile
1.7 Structural Rehabilitation
2 See also
4 External links
Zylon gained wide use in U.S. police officers body armor protection in
1998 with its introduction by Second Chance Body Armor, Inc. But
protective vests constructed with
Zylon became controversial in late
2003 when Oceanside, CA Police Officer Tony Zeppetella's and Forest
Hills, PA Police Officer Ed Limbacher's vests failed, leaving
Zeppetella mortally wounded and Limbacher seriously injured. Some
studies subsequently reported that the
Zylon vests may degrade
rapidly, leaving wearers with significantly less protection than
expected. Second Chance eventually recalled all of its
zylon-containing vests, which led to its subsequent bankruptcy. In
Armor Holdings, Inc.
Armor Holdings, Inc. first recalled its existing
Zylon-based products, and decreased the rated lifespan warranty of new
vests from 60 months to 30 months. In August 2005, AHI decided to
discontinue manufacturing all of its Zylon-containing vests. This was
largely based on the actions of the U.S. government's National
Institute of Justice, which decertified
Zylon for use in its approved
models of ballistic vests for law enforcement. 
Space elevator research
A competition was held in the
Wirefly X Prize Cup
Wirefly X Prize Cup in Las Cruces, New
Mexico, US, on October 20–21, 2006. A team from the University of
British Columbia entered into the Tether Challenge, using a
construction made from
Zylon fibers. The house tether used by
Spaceward, that the other teams would have to beat in strength by 50%
in the 2007 Spaceward games, was made of Zylon.
High-altitude balloon science
Zylon is used by NASA in long-duration, high-altitude data collection.
Zylon strands maintain the structure of polyethylene
Zylon is the material of choice due to its low
weight, high tensile strength, and thermal properties.[citation
As has been the case since 2001,
Zylon tethers are used in Formula One
to affix the wheel to the chassis thus preventing the wheel from
ejecting in to a crowded area in the event of an accident which causes
the wheel to become airborne. Starting in the 2007 season, the
driver's cockpit must now be clad in special anti-penetration panels
made of Zylon. In 2011, a
Zylon strip was introduced to reinforce
the top of the racing helmet visor and provide an overlap between
the visor and helmet for additional protection after Felipe Massa's
2009 injury. The
Indy Racing League
Indy Racing League began using
Zylon in 2008.
On modern racing yachts
Zylon is used for parts of the standing
rigging. It is used as shrouds and stays. The PBO (polybenzoxazole)
fiber is degraded by UV and visible light, seawater and chafing, and
is therefore protected by a synthetic melted-on jacket. It is claimed
to be 65% lighter than traditional rigging at 110–130% of the price
of rodrigging. Based on laboratory tests, superior durability is
Zylon has been incorporated as the base fiber for some conductive
textiles, where the
Zylon fiber is plated with nickel, copper, silver,
or gold. The conductive fiber is used for electronic textiles, EMI
shielding in woven or knit sheets, or as a braid over wires, and for
signal transmission or current conduction. This conductive fiber
combines the advantages of
Zylon (strength, resistance to high
temperatures, durability, light weight, etc.) with the electrical
properties of various metals. The conductive yarns can be sewn,
braided, knit, or simply insulated like a bare wire.
PBO is the strongest and stiffest of commercially available fibers
used to repair and strengthen concrete and masonry structures in
externally bonded composite systems. In this system, the fibers
are produced in the form of a fabric mesh, and a cementitious mortar
matrix bonds this to an existing structure.
^ Nielson, Donald (2006). A Heritage of Innovation: SRI's First Half
Century. Menlo Park, California: SRI International.
pp. 11–7–11–10. ISBN 978-0974520810.
^ Abegaz, Adane Z. (2013-12-18). Advanced
Fiber Reinforced Composites
as Confining Systems for RC Columns (Thesis). University of Miami
Scholarly Repository. p. 7.
Toyobo Co.,Ltd. "Zylon® (PBO fiber)" (free download PDF) (Technical
^ "Zylon". Policeone.com. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
^ Little, Brian. "Spaceward Games 2007 GeekDad". Wired.com.
^ Said, M.A.; Dingwall, Brenda; Gupta, A.; Seyam, A.M.; Mock, G.;
Theyson, T. (December 2006). "Investigation of ultra violet (UV)
resistance for high strength fibers". Advances in Space Research.
Elsevier Ltd. 37 (11). doi:10.1016/j.asr.2005.04.098. Retrieved
Formula One press release. "FIA Rules & Regulations Sporting
Regulations 2007". Archived from the original on 2007-01-26. Retrieved
^ "Super Visor -
Formula One helmets become even safer". Formula1.com.
2011-03-30. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
^ "Indy-Car Upgrades Planned For 2008, '09". AutoWeek.com. 2007-09-07.
^ "powerliterigging.com". powerliterigging.com. Retrieved
^ "Metal Clad
Fiber - AmberStrand® Fiber". metalcladfibers.com.
^ Tumialan, Gustavo; De Luca, Antonio (Sep 2014). "FRCM Systems".
Zylon manufacturer Toyobo
Zylon in body armor