Dacron

Info For Fliers Plus A Short History

The staff at any kite shop will tell you that Dacron is ideal for flying single-line kites. Compared to cotton and Nylon lines of the same strength, it is lighter and thinner. Also, its high melting point means that it resists abrasion. Handy for if you get a tangle with someone else's flying line!

This 1000' Braided Kite Line from Amazon will suit a wide range of single-line kites, up to a span of say 2 meters (7ft) if flown in light winds.

There is some stretch in the material, but this is of no real concern when flying a single-line kite. If you ask me, there's nothing wrong with a bit of shock-absorption in gusty winds!

Our own experiences with small Skewer kites on 20 pound line and larger Dowel kites on 50 pound line have been very good. The kites fly high with much less sag than a line made of cheaper material would have. Mind you, sharing a single flying line among several kites makes the cost seem more reasonable!

The occasional tangles do still happen, but for us it's been mainly due to carelessness. You know, you're in a hurry winding up the line and you don't take enough notice of some resistance...

Next thing you know, a small pile of loose line has arrived at your hand in the form of a tangle! Usually, it's still fairly loose and it only takes a few minutes to sort out.





The History Of Dacron

To make it more digestible, how about a list! Here we go...

Dacron - Reel of 200 pound braided line
  • The 1929 writings of Wallace Carothers about polymers led to the discovery of polyesters.
  • Carothers invented Neoprene in 1930 and Nylon in 1935.
  • 2 British chemists, John Rex Whinfield and J. T. Dickinson were inspired by the work of Carothers.
  • Whinfield and Dickinson invented a new high-melting-point polyester in 1941. They called it Terylene.
  • ICI patented the Terylene polyester.
  • DuPont purchased the U.S. rights to Terylene in 1945 for further development.
  • With modified Nylon technology, a DuPont pilot plant in Seaford, Delaware produced a version of Terylene they called Dacron fiber.
  • DuPont moved to mass production in its huge Kinston, North Carolina, plant in 1953.
  • "The rest, as they say, is history." Yeah I know, that tired old cliche...

You could spend 30 minutes or so wandering the Web to find all the above info in several places, often buried in long paragraphs. But I suspect you would rather just glance at the list to take it all in, in under half a minute!

There's my roll of 200 pound braided flying line up there in the photo. In its natural color.





Dacron - Some Technical Facts

A long paragraph of technical data would be hard going, so here's another list...

  • The scientific name for this material is polyethylene terephthalate.
  • It's a condensation polymer obtained from ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid.
  • The molecules are very long linear chains that cross-link to each other.
  • Each linear chain consists of 10 Carbon atoms, 8 Hydrogen atoms and 4 Oxygen atoms in a group, which is repeated many times giving the chain its long length.
  • The melting point of Dacron is a high 256 degrees Celsius (496 degrees Fahrenheit).

Finally, here's a not-so-technical fact... There are more uses these days for this synthetic fiber than you could poke a stick at! In my view, by far the most important one is for tethering single-line kites to Terra Firma ;-)

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For single-line kite fliers and builders, it's always been a good read. But if you are interested in KAP and/or large home-made kites you won't want to miss it!

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And there are even more free resources, such as a kite-making e-course, waiting for you in the next issue of this newsletter.

What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Carbon Diamond High Wind Experiment

    Sep 23, 14 01:22 AM

    This day's flying had been anticipated for at least a couple of weeks. A 'drag bucket' added to the tail end of the 2m (7ft) span Carbon and Tyvek Diamond was an attempt to raise the upper limit on the flyable wind speed for the kite. From earlier experiences it seems the unmodified Diamond becomes unstable at around 30 kph.

    The first flight was done with the drag bucket adjusted for fairly minimal effect. As half expected, the kite soon started to fly way over to the left and right. So, the wind speed up there must be at least 30kph! This was down at Brighton Beach, but all thoughts of doing KAP soon evaporated, due to the high wind speed. Not to mention the turbulence coming from some high buildings directly upwind.

    For a second attempt, the Velcro fastener was re-adjusted to considerably open up the intake of the bucket. The bucket being two Tyvek flaps which come together over the tail-most region of the sail. This had an immediate effect. More stability! Unfortunately, the extra drag also helped keep the kite at a lowish line angle in some of the fiercer gusts. Lots of line tension ensued, with a huge amount of distortion apparent in the sail.

    At this rate, something was going to break pretty soon, so I struggled to get the kite down to the sand. After shifting the towing point forward by about 3cm (1") the kite seemed a little more comfortable. When the sail of a Diamond distorts badly, it reduces the amount of effective area below the towing point. This is like shifting the towing point back - adding to the problems of too much wind!

    And then the inevitable happened. The already broken-and-repaired horizontal ferrule gave way and the kite promptly folded up and sank to the sand. But not before I had carefully observed every second of the kite's struggles, trying to learn more about Diamond kite behavior in high winds.

    Just an hour after arriving home, the weather station at the nearby airport was reporting gusts to 50kph! It was less further down the coast, but I suspect the Carbon Diamond felt the brunt of around 40kph for at least a few seconds at a time.

    "Simplest Dowel Kites": A free but very useful kite-making e-book. Make a super-simple Sled, Diamond and Delta - step-by-step with photos. Sign up for the e-book and get an emailed series of messages called "MBK Tips'n'Ideas". If you don't need the e-book, consider signing up anyway... You won't believe the value on offer in that message series!

    Read More





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