Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 15

Yell "shark!" and suit up

W

hile rare, shark bites can be a serious, dangerous reality for surfers and divers
in some parts of the world. Shark bites classically are crescent shaped or result
in a series of parallel cuts if the shark rakes its serrated triangular teeth on the person
under attack. Blood loss is the leading cause of death from such bites.
Scientists at Flinders University in Australia are working to develop a lightweight
wetsuit fabric that can reduce blood loss in the event of a shark bite. They've tested
two fabrics, both of which incorporate ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene fibers
(UHMWPE) into neoprene material used in wetsuits.
The marine researchers examined 10 variants of two different fabrics in laboratory
tests for puncture and laceration resilience. Compared to standard neoprene without
the protective layers, these fabrics were more resistant to puncture, laceration
and bites from sharks.
Local great white sharks even got the chance to test the fabric at the Neptune Islands
Group Marine Park. Researchers wrapped the material samples around load sensors placed
between steel plates that were surrounded by foam and threw them to the sharks, which
were between 10 and 13 feet in length.
Ultimately, the protective fabric required more force to be punctured and the cuts were
smaller and shallower than those on the standard fabric. While the first results are promising,
the scientists plan to do more testing. For more information, visit https://flinders.edu.au.

Great white sharks, responsible for
most unprovoked attacks on humans,
were part of a field test to create a
fabric that better protects against
their bite. Photo: Flinders University.

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Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020

Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - Cover1
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - Cover2
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 1
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 2
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 3
Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - 4
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Specialty Fabrics Review March 2020 - Cover3
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