We all know bicycle helmets are made with shock absorbing plastics to help protect our noggin. But we also trust plastics with our lives in some perhaps more surprising ways.
No plastics in “bullet-proof” glass and vests, right? Um…
Quick quiz: is bullet-proof glass made with glass or plastics? Answer: yes. Typically, it’s made with both. The glass and polycarbonate plastics work together to provide a layer of transparent protection for bank tellers, high security military areas, law enforcement officials… even the Declaration of Independence.
And those bullet-proof vests worn by the people who protect us? Surely they’re not made with plastics, right? Well… those heroic men and women actually wear high-performance plastic fabrics that are lightweight and comfortable—and tough enough to resist a bullet by acting as a net-like device and deforming the bullet. Helping protect the lives of those who protect us.
Motorcyclists wear only leather to protect themselves… not.
While leather historically has been the go-to material for protecting bikers when they lay down their machine, there’s a newish player: plastics. A couple decades ago, the CEO of a motorcycle jeans company agreed to be dragged behind a motorcycle on an asphalt racetrack wearing innovative new jeans knit with high-tech plastic fibers that dissipate the heat/friction away from the body. He got up to 62 miles per hour… and then just walked away (before a stunt man took over for further tests). As a result, bikers today can help protect themselves against road rash and abrasions—with advanced plastics, similar to those used in the bullet-proof glass/vests above.
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