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Better living through Kevlar

December 15, 2011

Men’s toys from racing cars, planes to space vehicles have it, but it was invented by a woman. Extremely lightweight fibre, five times stronger than steel and corrosion free, is known today as Kevlar.

Its inventor, Stephanie Kwolek became a polymer chemist by accident. She had originally planned to become a doctor and only took a temporary job at chemical giant DuPont to earn enough money for medical school. Newly discovered passion for chemistry soon made her heading a research team. While synthesising a new polymer, she persuaded technician to test a by-product solution, which was usually thrown away. This led Ms Kwolek to discover a new material, which she patented in 1966.

Stephanie Kwolek’s invention of Kevlar saved many lives and paved the way for a booming polymer industry. She is one of the leading contemporary chemists, but to the most of us, Ms Kwolek stays a fairly unknown inventor.


From → Get Inspired

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