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A-A-55220 - The Mil-Spec for Kevlar®  Sewing Thread

Kevlar ® Sewing Thread

Para-aramid yarns and sewing threads like Kevlar®, Twaron, Technora, and Heracron are widely used in aerospace, industrial and military applications where high strength, high flame and melt resistance, and low creep and elongation are desired.  

With obvious uses in military applications, the U.S. Department of Defense developed a set of standards in 1978, MIL-T-87128, to describe the physical and operational characteristics for para-aramid, intermediate modulus thread used for machine and hand sewing.

In 1995 the General Services Administration replaced MIL-T-87128 with a simplified mil-spec, titled A-A-55220.  The revised specification covers twisted monocord or multiple cord in both soft or resin (bonded) finshed threads.

Tables I and IA below describe the basic requirements required to meet mil-spec A-A-55220:

Table I - Mil-Spec for Kevlar® Aramid Thread - Twisted Soft Multiple Cord, A-A-55220 

Tex Size Approx. Denier # of Ends Yards per Pound Breaking Strength (lbs)
40 400 2 10,000 14
60 600 3 6,700 23
80 800 4 5,000 30
120 1200 3 3,350 45
210 2000 5 2,100 64
400 4000 4 1,050 135
450 4500 3 900 150
800 7500 5 550 225


Table IA - Mil-Spec for Kevlar®Aramid Thread - Monocord, A-A-55220

Tex Size Approx. Denier Yards per Pound Breaking Strength (lbs)
21 200 21,500 7.5
40 400 10,750 15
105 1000 4,300 45
150 1500 2,875 70
240 2250 2,175 95
300 3000 1,450 130


This revised specification differs from MIL-T-87128:

  • There is no letter size (ex. A, B, E, F, FF, 3, 5, 6, 8) designation for para-aramid sewing thread listed in A-A-55220;
  • Specific twist levels (t.p.i) are not listed in A-A-55220;
  • Put-up tubes or packages are not specifically listed;
  • Label and identification simplified;
  • ASTM test methods replaces FED-STD-191; 
  • 11 page MIL-T-87128 standard replaced with 5 pages under A-A-55220

There is a portion of A-A-55220, Table II that lists product defects, similar to MIL-T-87128, that requires some reference to the former specification. The revised specification states:

"Knots - Size FF and finer thread shall average not more than on thread knot per two ounces, and size 3 and heavier thread shall average not more than one thread knot per four ounces."

For reference, size FF refers to threads with yarn denier size of 1200 denier (400/3), and size 3 refers to yarn size 2000 denier (400/5).  Our recommendation is no knots for all sizes to decrease the likelyhood of processing breaks and scrap.

Like all military sewing thread specifications, A-A-55220 serves as a standard benchmark or starting point for most industrial manufacturers in developing product specifications for their products.  Kevlar® or para-aramid threads are commonly engineered today to exceed the mil-spec standard.

Need help with your Industrial Kevlar® or para-aramid yarn?  Contacts us, we'd be happy to assist! 

Guide to military specifications for industrial sewing thread

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