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 about Sewing
Sources:

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are parachutes used for?

    A:

    Parachutes are primarily used in two ways: as a safety precaution in fighter planes and in skydiving and other similar sports. Parachutes slow down the descent of a person or object.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What materials are used to make drums?

    A:

    Copper, wood or brass is used to make the drumhead, while a drum's top is stretched over with plastic or calfskin. The material that is used to make the drumhead depends on the type of drum.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the uses of rayon?

    A:

    Rayon is used in fabrics, home furnishing and industrial applications. The fabric is used to create clothing such as blouses, jackets, sportswear and dresses. In home furnishing, blankets, sheets and curtains may all be made from rayon. Rayon's industrial applications include medical surgical products.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How can I make a Nightwing superhero costume?

    A:

    The most defining characteristic needed for a Nightwing superhero costume is a thick, blue V across the chest and back that connect and extend down both arms in straight lines. The blue detail against a black background is meant to resemble wings against a night sky. The complexity of the costume can vary from a custom-fit spandex suit to a basic pair of black pants and a long-sleeve black shirt.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore