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Old 12-09-2011, 01:01 AM   #1
MrFurious OP
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Armacor vs. SuperFabric

So which of these two fabrics actually offers the best protection in terms of abrasion resistance? I've been scouring the web for the better part of a week now trying to find some hard data on the matter but so far have come up empty handed. Nor can I find a single manufacturer using either fabric in their products that includes any relevant test data in their literature or on their website.

Several manufacturers have noted that the SuperFabric is XX-times more abrasion resistant than Kevlar. Considering Armacor uses Kevlar in it's weave (every 4th thread IIRC) I really can't see where it would offer the same level of abrasion protection, yet we see more and more top-tier products using it in the impact areas over the SuperFabric - specifically in those products featuring the Gore-Tex Pro Shell outer construction.

Of course this raises a question - Is the use of Armacor in the impact areas on these Pro Shell products being dictated by Gore (i.e. Gore stipulating that if you want to use the Pro Shell 3L technology you must also use our Armacor fabric)?

It just strikes me as a little odd that manufacturers who have been using SuperFabric in the impact areas of their top-end gear and touting it's merits for the last several years would suddenly switch to using what appears to be a less durable material in their new Gore-Tex Pro Shell products.

So anyone have the real scoop on this and/or some hard test data comparing the two?
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:12 PM   #2
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Is there a big difference of the cost between the two?
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Old 12-10-2011, 03:41 AM   #3
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Superfabric

I don't have any data but have just started to work with Superfabric on a sailing apparel project. A few points I do know:

Superfabric gains its abrasion resistance via a surface coating using fairly generic fabrics/weaves. This surface coating is "Printed" onto the fabric. Because of this the fabric is sold in "Sheets" and not "Rolls". This makes its use prohibitive because it can not be used for large panels.

Armacor fabric is more of a traditional type fabric using various combinations of fibers woven in conjunction with each other. In addition i believe the yarns have some sort of treatment as well.

In respect to Gore-Tex keep in mind they are not a fabric company. They do not "Make" fabric they sell coatings and laminations to make fabric waterproof.That being the case Gore-Tex fabric comes from a multitude of suppliers.

The discussion of abrasion resistance and data is very complex. Look more toward European products. They have actual standards that they are required to prove by Law. They use more real world tests vs lab tests which can be very misleading especially on this abrasion issue.
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Old 12-10-2011, 05:48 AM   #4
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Two ideas; 1. Write to the manufacturer of each and see if they have any data they can provide you. If they sell the product in the EU, write to the European office of each and they will certainly have data. 2. Get a small sample of each, wrap it around something like a block of wood and take something like a belt sander to it. While not scientific per se, I think that that would provide a reasonable idea of how well each fabric would hold up to asphalt. Sadly the motorcycle protective gear industry seems to lend itself well to overly optimistic claims. And remember the fabric is only as good as the stitching used to affix it; a burst seam and you are toast... Good luck.
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Old 12-10-2011, 09:44 AM   #5
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I They do not "Make" fabric they sell coatings and laminations to make fabric waterproof.That being the case Gore-Tex fabric comes from a multitude of suppliers.

Of course the common denominator is that Gore is selective with who they will yet utilize their laminations, and the warranty taht they require those manufacturers to provide is a reason people buy gore.
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Old 12-10-2011, 11:04 AM   #6
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Two ideas; 1. Write to the manufacturer of each and see if they have any data they can provide you. If they sell the product in the EU, write to the European office of each and they will certainly have data. 2. Get a small sample of each, wrap it around something like a block of wood and take something like a belt sander to it. While not scientific per se, I think that that would provide a reasonable idea of how well each fabric would hold up to asphalt. Sadly the motorcycle protective gear industry seems to lend itself well to overly optimistic claims. And remember the fabric is only as good as the stitching used to affix it; a burst seam and you are toast... Good luck.
In theory that would work, but how many jackets or pants do you actually see on the market that list having a CE rating. Not many, at least not that I've seen. Yes, according to the law that established the CE ratings manufacturers selling their products in Europe aren't legally allowed to market a product as offering protective properties without having earned a rating. But as with most laws the enforcement is non-existent, and as such most manufacturers haven't bothered to have their gear or fabrics tested per CE standards and methods.

As for the second option, that's basically exactly what the EN 13595 tests are designed to do - test for impact abrasion resistance, burst strength and impact cut resistance. One could obtain samples of various materials and rig up their own improvised tests, but why should we have to when that's the manufacturers responsibility?


The basis of my original question revolves around how each material will hold up to a slide on asphalt. There are basically three things that could happen in the event of a get-off...you're either going to slide, tumble, or both. CE rated armor addresses the tumbling side of the equation, and the fabric(s) of the outer shell address the sliding issue.

There are basically two types of abrasion resistance tests currently in use. The first is the Martindale Test which is used on all fabrics no matter what the application or end use. Essentially this test shows how durable the fabric is and how long it will last under regular every day use. The best example I can think of in laymens terms would be the "how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie-Pop." That's essentially what this test does. Here's a video showing the actual test.

http://youtu.be/ql3KJCaJ_V0

The other test method is the Cambridge Test which is the test used in the EN 13595-2 test to earn a CE rating. As you can see in the video below this test is vastly different and more accurately represents what the fabric would see in a slide situation. Note that 7 seconds is the requirement to earn a CE Level 2 rating for impact abrasion resistance.

http://youtu.be/LLWQS_oL7G4

IIRC Cordura nylon has a melting point of around 250* F, which means it's not going to take long for it to melt through and fail in a slide As the video above showed, it took less than 1 second to burn through 500D Cordura. Don't know about you, but most asphalt slides I've seen last well longer than 1 second.

Kevlar's melting point is abour 450* F which makes it better suited for the high impact areas. Here's a video of a sample from Draggin Jeans being tested (13.5oz. 100% kevlar liner) which earned a CE Level 2 rating.

http://youtu.be/ArGqOZqLnTU

So we know 100% Kevlar can earn a CE Level 2 rating, and if we believe Rev`it's marketing SuperFabric is 14x more abrasion resistant than Kevlar (though I'm guessing this data came from a Martindale test). However, Armacor is a blend of Cordura 700D and kevlar fibers (every 4th thread in the weave is Kevlar) backed by a Gore-Tex membrane.

Seeing the results of the 500D Cordura and the Kevlar tests, and knowing the claims made of the SuperFabric, I just can't see how Armacor could be superior. But that's exactly what all the marketing hype keeps trying to tell us.

On a side note I recently read a quote from someone at Clover that the standard 1.2-1.3mm top grain Italian leather they use in their high end race suits is only good for about 3.5 seconds in the Cambridge test. To meet the 7 second requirement for a Level 2 rating they have to add a second layer (either leather or kevlar) to the impact areas.
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Old 12-10-2011, 06:38 PM   #7
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It's not the slide that kills or seriously hurts you, it's the hitting another stationary object. IMHO based on 25 years of scraping people off the highway. FWIW I ride ATGATT with high end quality gear. I have seen plenty of rubes with their clothes in tatters and covered in road rash walking around after the slide and riders wearing all the right stuff, stuffed because they came to a rapid stop against a car, curb, pole, tree, truck behind them, etc. YMMV
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:20 PM   #8
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Ever get more info on this topic?

Ever get more info on this topic?

Cheers,
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by MadtownMax View Post
Ever get more info on this topic?

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For what it's worth, I have never seen a superfabric panel worn through, even in critical areas whereas I have seen plenty of armacor panels fail in even less critical zones
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:44 PM   #10
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For what it's worth, I have never seen a superfabric panel worn through, even in critical areas whereas I have seen plenty of armacor panels fail in even less critical zones
The "ProShell material" is the Armacor in this suit.. I love my Armas suit, but I always wondered why they didn't carry the Superfabric all the way over the shoulder. If they did, the shoulder would've been 100% unharmed. Its hard to tell from the photo, but most of the back of the Armas is Armacor. The rest is a thin "stretch cordura" with dubious abrasion resistance. I'm pretty sure the back that is damaged is all Armacor. Still, the rider was impressed with the suit and felt he was protected

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Old 07-08-2013, 01:20 PM   #11
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The "ProShell material" is the Armacor in this suit.. I love my Armas suit, but I always wondered why they didn't carry the Superfabric all the way over the shoulder. If they did, the shoulder would've been 100% unharmed. Its hard to tell from the photo, but most of the back of the Armas is Armacor. The rest is a thin "stretch cordura" with dubious abrasion resistance. I'm pretty sure the back that is damaged is all Armacor. Still, the rider was impressed with the suit and felt he was protected

Considering that I routinely see motorcyclists traveling 15 mph or more faster than the speed limit (or about 80 mph), I would consider the jacket as having failed you. The reason is that braking distance is a function of kinetic energy, or E = M * V ^2. So doubling the speed to 80 - 90 mph would increase the sliding distance by a factor of 4x. Four times the heat energy to dissipate, four times the energy to break bones, melt synthetic fibers or burn skin, flesh, and bone, four times the distance to abrade suit, and your tender body all the way down to the bone marrow.

Super Fabric might be impenetrable, but depending on its surface texture, it's low friction co-efficient would allow more sliding than materials that absorb energy by deforming, shredding, abrading, etc. This might be why it's only applied at strategic locations (points of the shoulder) where a touchdown might result in wrenching of body parts resulting in broken collar bones, neck, etc., or cause accelerated tumbling or rolling to a dangerous extent. To apply it everywhere would result in riders (who typically fall down in a curve) to slide into roadside obstacles (curbs, trees, guard rail posts) more often and at higher speed--The SPLAT effect.

Leather and Kevlar are still the two best materials, IMHO, combining good frictional coefficients, melt resistance, and shock absorbtion in a crash.
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Old 07-08-2013, 01:28 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by MrFurious View Post

Seeing the results of the 500D Cordura and the Kevlar tests, and knowing the claims made of the SuperFabric, I just can't see how Armacor could be superior. But that's exactly what all the marketing hype keeps trying to tell us.

On a side note I recently read a quote from someone at Clover that the standard 1.2-1.3mm top grain Italian leather they use in their high end race suits is only good for about 3.5 seconds in the Cambridge test. To meet the 7 second requirement for a Level 2 rating they have to add a second layer (either leather or kevlar) to the impact areas.
I agree with your first paragraph.

Race leathers have multiple layers of leather, especially in high abrasion areas.
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