In the Post “Cut and Puncture Resistant Fibers For Gloves (Pick the Right Fibers)” we covered the most common fibers used in cut and puncture gloves. While this review of fiber types is useful you cant select gloves based on fiber type alone. Most advanced protective materials are composite textiles and are made from multiple fiber types and combine other non-fiber materials.
Knits: The fastest growing glove textile is the knit. This is driven by automated glove knitting machines which allow us to manufacture the basic glove knit shell with low labor content. Knits have some great advantages for gloves, jersey knit textile has 2 way stretch and stretch is a significant advantage for glove sizing, comfort and dexterity. Like most things in life knits and stretch come with a down side. The more open the knit and the more stretch the lower the protection will be for both cut and puncture. Thin comfortable knits with stretch don’t have high fiber content per unit area. This fiber content per unit area is a simple idea for optimizing cut. the more of a given fiber type your have under the cutting edge the better the cut performance will be. With regard to puncture this is pretty clear, an open stretchy knit is not a very effective barrier to puncture. Even large EN388 penetrators just push the knit fiber out of the way and slide right through the knit materials. Smaller ASTM nail type penetrators and hypodermic needles penetrate knits with no resistance.
Wovens: Many gloves are made from woven textiles, however wovens don’t have stretch so a glove made from all wovens has to be very carefully designed and sewn to fit well. Wovens may not be as easy to use a knits but they are standouts for cut and puncture performance. The weaving process can product a very dense textile with high fiber content per unit area so you get really high cut performance from well designed wovens. Even better we can engineer weaves that have no sliding yarns so these weaves have high puncture resistance even to the smallest 28 gauge hypo needles.
In the TurtleSkin line we have found that the best marriage for gloves that are both comfortable and protective is to use a composite or laminate of both knits and wovens. We put the high protection wovens in the area where the risks are on the hand. Then in the areas that are not at risk we use the stretch and openness of the knit to keep the glove comfortable. This is an important concept in glove selection. Don’t over spec your protection area. If you ask for 100% protection when you don’t really need this much you will end up with a glove that is both more expensive and less comfortable. If you are not getting injuries on the back of the hand then don’t spec in high protection in this area.
The glove design process does not stop with the combination of multiple types of textiles, coatings play a large role. The mechanical strength for cut and puncture resistance is provided by the textile. Grip and abrasion resistance can be greatly improved with a well engineered coating. Soft polyurethane rubber coatings offer some of the best grip and wear performance around. In addition to grip coatings provide an opportunity to improve cut and puncture resistance. The coatings can include hard materials and can be engineered to increase the internal friction in the textile so the cut and puncture are improved. Just as in the case of the use of wovens, coatings reduce the stretch and dexterity in the glove so don’t over spec your coating area. Palm and finger tip coating is a great compromise.
- Knits are very important to comfortable gloves because of their stretch.
- Look for wovens for improved Cut and Puncture protection
- Look at the coating materials: Do they have enough grip and durability
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