Dyneema and Spectra are gel spun through a spinneret to form oriented-strand synthetic fibers of UHMWPE, which have yield strengths as high as 2.4 GPa (350,000 psi) and specific gravity as low as 0.97 (for Dyneema SK75). High-strength steels have comparable yield strengths, and low-carbon steels have yield strengths much lower (around 0.5 GPa). Since steel has a specific gravity of roughly 7.8, this gives strength-to-weight ratios for these materials in a range from 10 to 100 times higher than steel. Strength-to-weight ratios for Dyneema are about 40% higher than for aramid.
UHMWPE fibers are used in armor, in particular, personal armor and on occasion as vehicle armor, cut-resistant gloves, bow strings, climbing equipment, fishing line, spear lines for spearguns, high-performance sails, suspension lines on sport parachutes and paragliders, rigging in yachting, kites, and kites lines for kites sports. Spectra is also used as a high-end wakeboard line.
For personal armor, the fibers are, in general, aligned and bonded into sheets, which are then layered at various angles to give the resulting composite material strength in all directions. Recently developed additions to the US Military's Interceptor body armor, designed to offer arm and leg protection, are said to utilize a form of Spectra or Dyneema fabric. Dyneema provides puncture resistance to protective clothing in the sport of fencing.
Spun UHMWPE fibers excel as fishing line, as they have less stretch, are more abrasion-resistant, and are thinner than traditional monofilament line.
High-performance lines (such as backstays) for sailing and parasailing are made of UHMWPE, due to their low stretch, high strength, and low weight.
Dyneema was used for the 30-kilometre space tether in the ESA/Russian Young Engineers' Satellite 2 of September, 2007.