Have you heard of cut-resistant gloves? Maybe you have but still are wondering how do cut-resistant gloves work? This piece of personal protective equipment safeguards you against accidental cuts, lacerations, knife injuries, and cutting accidents when working with extra-sharp objects.
Knowing how these gloves work will help you determine the best one because they come in different kinds. That’s what I aim to do in this article.
What Are Cut-resistant Gloves?
What came to your mind the first time you heard about cut-resistant gloves? Did you think they were bulky, heavy, and had chainmail? I can’t blame you if you have this image because most people think the same.
However, knife safety gloves are comfortable, form-fitting, and thin. They’re like the ordinary gloves we don, except with a unique structure, composition, and fabrication that gives wearers excellent protection against cuts and lacerations.
How Do They Work?
Uncuttable gloves have three essential properties that separate them from other types of hand-worn personal protective equipment. Let’s examine these characteristics closer.
Cut-resistant gloves feature extra-strength cut resistant material. Many of these gloves feature high-performance polyethylene (HPPE) and para-aramid fibers. You might be more familiar with Kevlar instead of para-aramid, giving you an idea of glove fibers’ toughness and strength.
Although these materials have superior strength, the American National Standards Institute only classifies them as Cut Resistance Level 2 substances. These gloves don’t have a cut proof material.
However, when you combine them with other cut-resistant elements, you can have a pair of cut-proof gloves. It is capable of saving you from severe bodily harm and mutilation.
Strength reflects a cut-resistant glove’s ability to resist destruction or damage when subjected to force application or other insults. It should take a lot of pressure to penetrate or puncture these safety cutting gloves.
A cut-resistant glove’s hardness rating reflects its ability to dull a sharp object. When you strike a knife into the fabric, the blade loses its edge, or at least it won’t be as sharp anymore. It’s not surprising to see gloves with steel or glass integrated into the yarn.
What is surprising is how glove designers and engineers mesh extremely hard substances into the glove’s yarn. You can chop beef bones for soups, and you’ll never worry about hurting yourself.
Of course, not all cut-resistant gloves have exceptional engineering. That’s why I always recommend researching a product’s construction or fabrication before buying.
- Rolling Action
Here’s a characteristic you won’t find in most gloves. The cut-resistant glove’s rolling action reflects its ability to absorb impact forces while improving cut resistance. Ordinary folks call this attribute the glove yarn’s ‘slipperiness.’
A typical yarn consists of three intertwining strands. What you don’t see are the hundreds of fibers comprising each strand. Conventional threads have tight and compact fibers with little to no movement between and among the tiny strands.
On the other hand, the yarns on cut-resistant gloves have loose and less compact fibers. This design allows the fibrils to go with the impact, absorbing the forces and preventing destruction to the yarn.
How Does This Work, and How Does It Help Improve a Glove’s Cut Resistance?
Try this experiment. Take a rope and tie the ends on opposite poles, ensuring a taut line. Now, get an ax and strike the rope’s middle. You should easily cut the line in two.
Tie another rope between two poles, but slacken the line this time. Try to cut the rope with one blow using your ax. You couldn’t, could you? You might need a few swings at it before you can divide the rope.
That is what a yarn’s rolling action gives to safety gloves for cutting. It absorbs the blade’s impact and gives you enough time to react and take your gloved hand out of the way.
Experts say HPPE materials are more slippery than para-aramid (Kevlar).
Summing up, cut-resistant gloves work by creating a strong and hard surface to prevent bladed and sharp objects from penetrating the gloves. The fibers’ rolling action complements the glove’s other elements by absorbing impact forces.
What Materials Comprise a Cut-resistant Glove?
Now we know how cut-resistant gloves work. The next logical question is, what are cut resistant gloves made of? It makes sense because we’ve been talking about strength, hardness, and rolling action as the core attributes of cut-resistant gloves.
Cut-resistant gloves feature a combination of high-strength materials and fibers meshed into a rubber or polymer base. They vary in thickness and can come with at least one of the following materials.
- Dyneema – This high-performance polyethylene has 15 times the strength of steel. It is three times stronger than Kevlar, making it the perfect substance for protecting people’s hands against lacerations and cute.
- HPPE is also resistant to chemicals and moisture. Dyneema also floats on water.
- Kevlar – Kevlar is the quintessential ‘tough guy’ among body armor products. It has an exceptional tensile strength-to-weight ratio, suitable for gloves to protect from knife cuts.
- Kevlar is 500% stronger than steel and is resistant to flames and heat up to 427 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also lightweight and flexible, making it an excellent choice for gloves.
- Spectra – This fiber is similar to Dyneema, although its strength is only ten times that of steel. It is an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene material with exceptional durability and high tensile strength.
- Spectra doesn’t lose its abrasion and cut resistance when wet while also safeguarding its flexibility.
You might also see abrasion and cut-resistant materials, such as a steel core, fiber metal blends, and super fabric. Gloves with exceptional puncture resistance often feature metal mesh and super fabric.
I recommend checking out the cut-resistant gloves’ components to determine their ability to resist cuts and lacerations.
What Are their Limitations?
Although cut-resistant gloves offer protection against lacerations and cuts, they aren’t cut-proof. Some people might think it’s okay to perform dangerous tasks because they have false confidence in their gloves.
It’s worth pointing out that cut-proof is different from cut-resistant. Hence, placing your gloved hand directly on the path of a razor-sharp knife or saw can still result in injuries. You might still need a few stitches to close the wound.
Three characteristics are crucial in defining how do cut-resistant gloves work.
- Strength allows the glove to accommodate extreme forces before breaking.
- Hardness empowers the glove to dull a sharp object.
- Rolling action enables the glove to absorb impact forces.
You can consider these attributes when choosing a cut-resistant glove to use in your activities.
Our content editor is Joshua Clark. His writing and editing skills are such that he can simplify even the most intricate concept for the benefit of the reader. It’s excellent to have him on board since he can help us develop a comprehensive database on PPE matters impacting all construction workers, from amateurs to veterans.