Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Inventions Week! Keeping it Close to the Chest

The proud people of law enforcement  are safer today because a young woman with an interest in fashion pursued a career in her other passion, chemistry. Stephanie Louise Kwolek decided to focus on fibers in her research. Circa 1964 she began to develop a fiber intended to make stronger radial tires.  Radial tires.  Hah!  Her discovery went waaaay beyond that.  It took  the form of a liquid polymer, which needs to be spun in a ... wait for it... spinneret!  The spinneret guy didn't want to put Kwolek's goop in the machine for fear of clogs(lumps, not shoes).   Eventually he was persuaded, and the fiber that resulted was so light and strong Kwolek didn't want to file her report because she could not believe it.  And then she could.  The stuff they named Kevlar is five times stronger than steel and one heck of a lot more comfortable.  So even though Dr. Kwolek did not become a fashion designer, folks are wearing her creation.

Source: Biography Resource Center as accessed through EBSCOhost

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cool, great story