In 1965, the company DuPont realized that there was a need for a new type of tyre that was lightweight and durable, as a gasoline shortage was anticipated. They hired a team of inventors led by Stephanie Kwolek to use polymers to develop the new material. Eventually, Kwolek discovered that her development of poly-p-Phenylene-terephthalate and polybenzamide formed an amazing fiber.
She decided to ask a technician by the name of Charles Smullen to run her new fiber through a machine called a “spinneret”. The “spinneret” was designed to test the durability of fibers. Fibers, such as nylon, often broke during the testing, but Kwolek was amazed to see that her fiber would not break. After her discovery was made known to her superiors, they immediately established a field of polymer chemistry that had not previously been explored. By 1971, the fiber had been refined and tested further, and was introduced to the world as Kevlar.
The Ultimate Protective Clothing Material
Since its initial introduction, Kevlar has become the most commonly used material in body armor. On an equal weight basis, Kevlar is five times stronger than steel. It is lightweight, easy-to-use, and ultra protective. Many soldiers and law enforcement agents are very grateful for Kwolek’s discovery, because it has made it possible for them to do their jobs in a safe and diligent manner, whilst also remaining comfortable. They no longer have to feel weighed down by their protective gear. Kevlar offers the protection they need to be confident that they will be protected in even the most dangerous of situations.
Kevlar has been used for more than just body armor. Many people use Kevlar in one form or another every day and do not even realize it. Kevlar is used in clothing to give someone extra protection from cuts, scrapes, or burns. The clothing is lightweight, and thin enough to allow someone to continue to do their activities as they normally would. The protective clothing is often worn by construction workers, road workers, and railroad operators.
A great deal of sports equipment also uses Kevlar. Bicycle tires are lined on the interior with Kevlar to give them extra strength, and to prevent punctures. Field hockey sticks often use this material as a stronger, more durable and lighter alternative to wood. Motorcycle safety clothing may also feature Kevlar knee, elbow, and shoulder padding.
Kevlar has revolutionized many industries: it is now used in most of the covert and overt body armor systems around the world. It has proven to be a superior choice for a range of products. It has made it possible to do so much more than previously thought possible. This improvement is most noticeable, and most impacting, in the fields of personal protection – including bullet and stab proof materials.
There are current developments underway to see if Kevlar can be made to be even stronger. For these reasons, we exclusively select Kevlar as our material of choice in all of our vests.