Q:

What materials are used to make parachutes?

A:

Quick Answer

Canvas was the first material used to make parachutes; throughout history parachutes have also been made of silk, nylon, Kevlar and Terylene fabrics. While canvas was the first material used, other materials, like nylon and Kevlar, have offered greater benefits, such as more reliable strength, flexibility and damage resistance.

Know More
What materials are used to make parachutes?
Credit: Chris Wellner CC-BY 2.0

Full Answer

Parachutes were originally invented to be used as emergency devices for airplane pilots. Since then, they have become much more commonly used for military and recreational purposes. Just as the function of parachutes has evolved over the years, so too has the materials used to make them.

Canvas was the first material used to make parachutes. Canvas is a heavy-duty, plain-woven fabric, making it a reliable option for parachute material. Canvas was soon largely replaced by silk, however, because silk is lighter, thinner and stronger than canvas. Silk is also fire-resistant, making it more safe. It is also easier to fold and pack.

During World War II, silk supplies diminished, and so nylon became a popular fabric for making parachutes. A cheaper material, nylon has many attributes. It is very lightweight, quick-drying and elastic and it can also resist wind, chemical damage, abrasion and mildew buildup. Nylon is specially woven for parachutes, where extra thick squares in its weaving prevent tears from getting bigger. Nylon is also used to make parachute harnesses, reinforcing tape and suspension lines.

Kevlar is another material used to make parachutes. An extremely strong synthetic fabric, Kevlar is heat and flame-resistant and can maintain its tensile strength even after being stored for long periods of time. Terylene, a type of polyester fabric used for making parachutes, is similarly strong and heat resistant.

Learn More
Sources:

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What does "baste" mean in sewing terms?

    A:

    Baste, when referring to sewing, means to join pieces of fabric together temporarily. The purpose is to hold the pieces together long enough to ensure proper stitching. This is generally done when the fabric is slippery or if there are multiple pieces to be sewn together.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do you print on burlap?

    A:

    You can print on burlap with an inkjet printer, as long as the burlap piece is stabilized and cut to size first. Grab some freezer paper, an iron, a pair of scissors and a printer to complete this project.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do you make a poodle skirt pattern?

    A:

    To make a poodle skirt pattern, take a waist measurement with string, and draw two arcs, one for the waist and one for the bottom of the skirt, onto folded fabric. This project requires fabric, string, a tailor's pencil, fabric scissors and a fabric measuring tape. If you plan on making multiple skirts, make the pattern on paper before transferring it to the fabric.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How can you make a king-sized bedspread?

    A:

    Sewers can make their own king-sized bedspreads by taking mattress measurements, cutting fabric to fit those measurements, sewing the pieces together and then attaching their work onto a backing. This can be done with a single piece of wide fabric or by piecing fabrics together to create a quilted look.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore