Texas Tech University’s National Wind Institute is the place to go when you want to study how to mitigate tornado and hurricane damage. One of the toys they’ve got in their testing labs is a crazy pneumatic cannon that can fire, well, anything you can stuff into it, at speeds of up to 250 miles per hour.
In the following video, they load the thing up with a freaking 2×4 and fire it clear through a brick wall. Afterwards they fire another 2×4 into a fabric tape at the same speed, and watch what happens:
So what the heck is that stuff? That’s Dyneema, trademarked as The World’s Strongest Fiber. Dyneema is a trade name for UHMwPE, a/k/a Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene, which is reckoned to be tougher than Kevlar, and pops up in similar places like bulletproof vests. Produced by Dutch material science firm DSM, Dyneema is also used in ropes, slings, nets, sailcloth, cut-resistant gloves, and even specialty jeans and motorcycle clothing.
Though it was developed in the ’60s, Dyneema doesn’t seem to have the same brand recognition that Kevlar does. But that may be changing. Remember the Swiss Barefoot Company whose tough-as-nails outdoor socks we showed you a few years ago? Turns out they’ve now ditched Kevlar for Dyneema:
That Kickstarter campaign, which sought $10,000, has currently netted $233,826 with 12 days left to pledge. That’s gotta be the first 20x-funded Kickstarter campaign we’ve seen that involved socks.
You can learn more about Dyneema here.