ANAHEIM, CALIF. - Owens Corning has introduced a fiber with significantly more tensile strength than other fibers, setting the stage for the company to enter the commercial ballistic armor market in about six months. ``The fiber ZenTron combines a new glass composition with Type 30 single-end technology,'' Brad Wiggins, market manager for aerospace, defense and telecommunications, said in an interview at the International SAMPE Symposium/Exposition in Anaheim. The reinforcement can be used for filament winding, weaving and pultrusion processes.
Wiggins said the high-strength fiber typically provides 15-50 percent higher burst pressures than other high-performance, epoxy-compatible filament wound products. Owens Corning calls ZenTron ``the strongest fiber in the company's history.'' The tensile strength exceeds 550,000 pounds per square inch, and the intra-laminar shear strength, 10,000 pounds per square inch.
Senior research engineer David Hartman developed the ZenTron technology at the Granville, Ohio, technical center with a focused effort in the past year. ZenTron has more silica, and can handle higher temperatures, than E-glass. Both ZenTron and S-2 glass fiber can be used in high-temperature applications exceeding 1,500§F.
Production on a new dedicated line at the Huntington, Pa., plant will begin in July with product samples available in August. At Owens Corning's exhibit at SAMPE, Wiggins was accepting commercial orders for shipment in October.
``We see commercial uses for police cars and trauma plates,'' Wiggins said. ``Wealthy individuals in South America will be able to protect their vehicles within the car makers' 30-pounds-per-door warranty.''
A thin composite armor of ZenTron will be 30 percent thinner than comparable armor of DuPont Co.'s Kevlar fiber, Wiggins said.
Owens Corning plans to sell truckloads of ZenTron for $5.70 per pound in comparison with its military-specification S-2 glass fiber for $6.05 per pound.
``ZenTron will be directed at the commercial markets including industrial pressure vessels, recreational marine, construction and infrastructure in addition to ballistic armor,'' he said.