You may have noticed that we recently added a whole new product line to our already formidable offering: Lawn and Garden V-Belts!
What's so special about these belts? They are wrapped in Aramid cord and are designed for use in heavy duty applications. But what is Aramid? Why is it so great, and why do Aramid cord belts look just like Kevlar®?
What is Aramid?
Aramid is an abbreviated nickname for a synthetic fiber called aromatic polyamide. (Don't worry about the term aromatic, it doesn't mean this material is particularly stinky, and it wouldn't work well as a scratch-and-sniff!). It's a type of synthetic material that has many advantageous attributes, including:
- Resistance to heat - In normal air conditions, aramid will neither melt nor catch fire. Its melting point is almost 1,000° F, more than double that of rubber (360° F)
- Resistance to abrasion - When tested, Aramid is comparatively longer-lasting with normal wear-and-tear.
- Non conductive - Like Rubber, Aramid does not conduct electricity.
- High tenacity - The tensile strength of Aramid is higher than most fibers, which means the fibers likely to stay together and not fray.
- Strength - Aramid is even more resistant to breaking than carbon fiber, and it is more than 20X stronger than rubber.
What are some popular uses for Aramid?
- Flame-resistant clothing
- Body armor
- Optical fiber cable
- Reinforced concrete
- Jet engines
With all these varied uses, it's no surprise that Aramid is used for v-belts. You've seen the underside of your lawnmower- it's a messy business. But why aren't our lawn and garden belts solid Aramid, instead of just having a surrounding layer? More should mean better... right?
Well, it turns out that Aramid is quite brittle - meaning that it will shatter instead of stretching. In small doses, that's fantastic - these blue belts won't stretch out of shape! However, if you somehow managed to put a solid Aramid belt onto your lawn tractor, the first thing that happens when it spins up, is that your pulleys snap off or your belt cracks into tiny pieces.
These Aramid cord belts have been wedded to rubber in beautiful harmony: they offer the strength of Aramid and the flexibility of rubber.
Aramid vs Kevlar®
What's the difference between Aramid and Kevlar®? We've explained why Aramid works great in lawn and garden applications, but what about Kevlar®? Everyone seems to be talking about it. Is it better? Do I need Kevlar®? Let's consider the following scenario:
You've broken a v-belt on your lawnmower. Immediately, you reach for your handy-dandy owner's manual to find the OEM recommended part number. That part number is probably going to be a hodgepodge of letters and a short description, like perhaps M155525: 1/2" x 141" for a John Deere machine. Now, you hop over to your favorite search engine and type in that part number. You trust your OEM, so you click on the first link that happens to have the OEM name in the header. And then you notice that price tag is about triple what you expected it to be - yikes!
You're now faced with a choice: Do you end your search now and pay the high price? Or do you keep searching and maybe find a generic replacement at a lower cost? In many cases the OEM belt as well as many generic replacements may say that the belt is wrapped in Kevlar®. It's a product you're familiar with, they make bullet-proof vests that save lives, after all. So, do you need Kevlar® in a lawn mower belt?
It's a choice every repairer must make on their own, but I will let you in on this little tidbit: Kevlar® is just a brand name for Aramid. The fiber goes by many brand names, it just so happens that this particular brand won the generic trademark battle. A generic trademark is the name we use for brands that become so popular, that many people end up referring to the product as the brand name. You can probably think of several examples off the top of your head (e.g. Kleenex is a brand of Facial Tissue, Advil is a brand of Ibuprofen). More often than not, a generic version of a product is much less expensive than the branded version even if the quality is the same.
The Takeaway: Aramid cord belts are a durable option for use in many applications including lawn mowers and other outdoor power equipment. Aramid is a beneficial option as it is heat-resistant, abrasion-resistance, non-conductive and significantly stronger than rubber belts. Many Genuine OEM Replacement belts and aftermarket replacement options are made with Kevlar® which is simply a brand name for Aramid cord. Purchasing Aramid Cord belts without the Kevlar® brand name can save you money while providing an equally superior product!
Shop now for Aramid Cord belts on Phoenix-Mfg.com! You can even use the Search bar at the top of this page to search by the OEM part number to find a replacement for your machine!