facts about the invention
of the Kevlar by Stephanie
Kwolek in 1985.
|Toward the end of the 1920s the next
important breakthrough for DuPont Corporation came as a result of fundamental rather than
applied research. The head of research noted at the time: "We are including in the
budget for 1927 an item of $20,000 to cover what may be called, for want of a better name,
pure science or fundamental research work...the sort of work we refer to...has the object
of establishing or discovering new scientific facts." In a short time the group that
had been put together under this budget had developed an understanding of radical
polymerization and established the basic principles for condensation polymerization and
the structure of condensation polymers. This led to the invention and commercialization of
nylon in 1938--the beginning of the modern materials revolution. (Prior to this, the group
yielded neoprene synthetic rubber in 1933.)
Many synthetic materials cascaded from
DuPont research after that, forming the basis for many global businesses and products
including household names such as Teflon® fluoropolymer resins and SilverStone®
certified non-stick finishes, Stainmaster® flooring systems, Kevlar® brand fiber,
Nomex® brand fiber and paper, Lycra® spandex fiber, Sontara® spun-laced fabric, Mylar®
polyester film, Tyvek® spunbonded olefin, Cordura® nylon fiber, and Corian® solid
||Relying on experience and instinct,
Stephanie Kwolek invented one of the modern world's most readily recognized and widely
used materials: Kevlar®. DuPont put its Pioneering Lab to work finding a viable
commercial version of Kwolek's new crystalline polymers, the potential applications for
which were obvious. The result was Kevlar® (first marketed in 1971), a fiber five times
stronger ounce for ounce than steel, but about half the density of fiberglass. Kevlar® is
best known to the public as the material from the which bulletproof vests are made; and in
this use alone Kwolek's discovery has saved thousands of lives.
|DuPonts family of KEVLAR®
brand fiber products provide a unique combination of toughness, extra-high tenacity and
modulus, and exceptional thermal stability. These applications include cut, heat, and
bullet / fragment resistant apparel, brake and transmission friction parts, gaskets, ropes
and cables, composites, fiber optic cables, circuit board reinforcement, sporting goods,
tires, automotive belts and hoses. KEVLAR® is often specified when requirements call for
increased strength, reduced weight and/or extended wear life.
Kwolek Biography from The Great Idea Finder
Chemistry History from The Great Idea
ON THE BOOKSHELF:
Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women
by Catherine Thimmesh, Melissa Sweet (Ill) / Hardcover - 64 pages (2000) /
A dozen women are profiled in this collection of short, anecdotal biographies
demonstrating that necessity, ingenuity, and luck all play a part in successful
inventions. The final section tells girls how to patent their inventions, and an informed
bibliography will do just that.
Ingenuity: How Women Inventors Changed America
by Anne L. MacDonald / Paperback - 540 pages
(March 1994) / Ballantine Books
A sprightly, informative chronicle of women inventors in America--a two-steps- forward and
one and a half steps back history that aptly mirrors the rise and fall of feminist
movements over two centuries.
Women Inventors: Two Centuries of Discoveries That Have Shaped Our World
by Susan Casey / Paperback - 144 pages (October 1997) / Chicago Review Press
These inspiring stories of women inventors take the reader on a step-by-step journey
process of inventing.
Women Inventors & Their Discoveries (Profiles)
by Ethlie Ann Vare, Greg Ptacek (Contributor) / Hardcover (March 1993) / Oliver Pr
Interesting facts about 10 obscure American women who
invented famous things fill the pages of this very readable book. Each informative chapter
is devoted to the life of one remarkable woman.
ON THE SCREEN:
DVD / 1 Volume Set / 50 Minutes / History Channel / Less than $25.00 /
A bullet travels up to 3,000 feet per second. So how can it be stopped?
Surprisingly, there are many answers to this question.
ON THE WEB:
History of Kevlar from the official DuPont site.
Kevlar The Wonder
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is operated by the University of
California for the United States Department of Energy.
"Lady Edisons" --Women Inventors in the 20th Century
From Innovative Lives at the Smithsonian Institution written by J.E. Bedi
DID YOU KNOW?:
|The products® mentioned in this article are DuPont
Sources in BOLD Type
page revised February, 2005
Berners-Lee's invention has revolutionized the world like nothing
The invention of the Internet,
should be classed with the greatest events of the 20th Century.
The Aero Sport All-Terrain Bed
with Dual Power Pump is the perfect addition to any camping trip or weekend
book, is the perfect desktop reference for both the science novice and the
technologically advanced reader alike.
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