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Ball-and-stick model of a single layer of the crystal structure
Aramid fiber2.jpg
24938-64-5 YesY
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
N  (what is YesYN ?)
Infobox references

Kevlar is the registered trademark for a para-aramid synthetic fiber, related to other aramids such as Nomex and Technora. Developed by Stephanie Kwolek at DuPont in 1965, this high-strength material was first commercially used in the early 1970s as a replacement for steel in racing tires. Typically it is spun into ropes or fabric sheets that can be used as such or as an ingredient in composite material components.

Currently, Kevlar has many applications, ranging from bicycle tires and racing sails to body armor, because of its high tensile strength-to-weight ratio; by this measure it is 5 times stronger than steel. It is also used to make modern drumheads that withstand high impact. When used as a woven material, it is suitable for mooring lines and other underwater applications.

A similar fiber called Twaron with roughly the same chemical structure was developed by Akzo in the 1970s; commercial production started in 1986, and Twaron is now manufactured by Teijin.

Poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide – branded Kevlar – was invented by Polish-American chemist Stephanie Kwolek while working for DuPont, in anticipation of a gasoline shortage. In 1964, her group began searching for a new lightweight strong fiber to use for light but strong tires. The polymers she had been working with at the time, poly-p-phenylene-terephthalate and polybenzamide, formed liquid crystal while in solution, something unique to those polymers at the time.

The solution was "cloudy, opalescent upon being stirred, and of low viscosity" and usually was thrown away. However, Kwolek persuaded the technician, Charles Smullen, who ran the "spinneret", to test her solution, and was amazed to find that the fiber did not break, unlike nylon. Her supervisor and her laboratory director understood the significance of her accidental discovery and a new field of polymer chemistry quickly arose. By 1971, modern Kevlar was introduced. However, Kwolek was not very involved in developing the applications of Kevlar.

Kevlar K-29 – in industrial applications, such as cables, asbestos replacement, brake linings, and body/vehicle armor.
Kevlar K49 – high modulus used in cable and rope products.
Kevlar K100 – colored version of Kevlar
Kevlar K119 – higher-elongation, flexible and more fatigue resistant
Kevlar K129 – higher tenacity for ballistic applications
Kevlar AP – 15% higher tensile strength than K-29
Kevlar XP – lighter weight resin and KM2 plus fiber combination
Kevlar KM2 – enhanced ballistic resistance for armor applications


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