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Kai Lawson

Location: Madison, WI
Joined: 26 Aug 2010
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Posts: 557

PostPosted: Wed 01 Jul, 2020 7:23 am    Post subject: Ancient ‘Kevlar?’ Adding Kaolin to fabrics         Reply with quote

Sorry for the click-bait title, but I recently read the blog post here and they mentioned some interesting ideas that have left me struggling to figure out how to weave various 3D fabrics and try to make twined/plied armors. At the very end, the author mentions the possible addition of kaolin to linen, as part of the bleaching process and how that may have partially mimicked modern Kevlar intercalation. Apparently, kaolin has been used as a very common soap additive for oil absorption. My questions are two fold:

1. How would one effectively intercalated kaolin into fabrics? Adding it during washes sounds good, but isn’t very helpful in terms of actually DOING it. I’ve been looking back at soap recipients, but any tips, advice or links to info would be very helpful.

2. The blog proposed the addition of kaolin to linen. Soap makers seem to mention that it can absorb oils and thinner lipids. Would the addition of kaolin to wool assist in the making of felt via increased absorption of lanolin and other oils? Removing these are crucial to felt making, but I am curious if the addition of the kaolin would have a similar effect on the randomized (I.e. not regular sized cells or pores) porous structure of the felt. Does the substrate require a regular or woven structure to help hold the presumably tiny solid particles of kaolin to allow for the non-Newtonian effect?

I’m looking to make a composite layer ‘soft’ armor (torso only) as a fun materials experiment, and my plan is to face the outside in homemade thick felt for water, cut and heat resistance. I’m curious if penetrative action can also be resisted somewhat without deliberately making a very stiff material with the addition of kaolin. I’m still reading through public papers on the properties, but if anyone has info, please share!

My phone is being crappy and isn’t making the url option work, and the thing is too broken to be able to delete the tags at the ends of the link without a serious tone investment. Sorry.

"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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