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A revolutionary new wearable fabric which redefines the term tough has been developed by AgResearch.

The stab and flame-resistant fabric is made from knitted Vectran - a non-cut, ultra-high strength liquid crystal polymer - with short wool fibre packed into the outer surface.

Its flame-resistant properties will be tested to the full on Monday, when a blowtorch will be applied to a vest made of the fabric while being worn by a model.

The fabric will resist puncture or knife penetration, is lightweight, comfortable to wear, and has the dual benefits of the breathability and comfort of wool as well as the puncture resistance of the Vectran component, said AgResearch textile science and technology section manager Peter Ingham.

The wool component was naturally flame-resistant and any charring would be contained by the Vectran, giving the wearer "unparalleled protection" against flames.

The fabric looked like a "normal" Swanndri-type wool, but had the super-tough hidden layer of Vectran inside.

"This is offered as an alternative stab, cut and fire-resistant fabric developed to protect the wearer from the ever-changing and sometimes hostile world we live in," Dr Ingham said.

Talks had begun with a company to produce the material commercially.

"It appears there is quite a wide range of uses for it. Some have suggested streetwear for south Auckland."

- NZPA