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Ripstop fabric applied in a paraglider

Ripstop fabrics are woven fabrics often made out of nylon, whilst using a special reinforcing technique that makes them very resistant against tearing and ripping. During weaving (thick) reinforcement threads are interwoven at regular intervals in a crosshatch pattern in the fabric. The intervals at which reinforcement threads are interwoven are typically 5 to 8 millimeters (0.2 to 0.3 in) apart. Thin or lightweight ripstop fabrics get a 3 dimensional structure due to the thicker threads being interwoven in thinner cloth. Older lightweight ripstop-fabrics display the thicker interlocking thread patterns in the material quite prominently, but more modern weaving techniques make the ripstop threads less obvious. The same effect can be achieved by weaving two or three of the fine yarns together at intervals.[1]

Advantages of ripstop fabrics are the favourable weight to strength ratio and that smaller tears and rips can not easily spread further in the fabric. It is produced in a range of weights and textures, waterproof, water resistant, fire resistant, zero porosity (will not allow air or water through), light, medium and heavy weight. Textures range from soft, silk like to crisp or stiff ones that sound like a paper bag when they are moved.

While many people assume ripstop fabric is made of nylon, this is only partially true. Ripstop fabric is made by weaving nylon threads throughout a base material in interlocking patterns. Many fabrics can be used to make ripstop fabric, including cotton, silk, polyester, or polypropylene, with nylon content limited to the crosshatched threads that make the material tear-resistant[2].



Ripstop fabrics are often applied for use in yachts for sails and spinnakers, hot air balloons, kites, parachutes, camping equipment such as lightweight tents and sleeping bags, swags, flags, banners, and many other applications which require a strong lightweight fabric. Ripstop reinforcement can also be incorporated into heavier fabrics which require extreme durability, such as those used in the manufacture of Battle Dress Uniforms, Nomex protective clothing for firefighters and other workwear, outdoor and sports clothing, backpacks, luggage bags, etc. Self-adhesive ripstop cloth is offered to repair rips and tears in other fabrics.

Ejector seat parachutes made with ripstop are woven with elastic like fabric so that they stretch to allow more air to pass through them at high speed, then as they slow up the weave closes and acts like a normal parachute. This allows the seat with the pilot in to slow down gently; otherwise the compression caused could result in injuries to the spine.

See also


  1. ^ Fairchild's Dictionary of Textiles, pg. 474
  2. ^ What is ripstop fabric

External links



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