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.
Kevlar® is a material formed by combining para-phenylenediamine and terephthaloyl chloride. Aromatic polyamide (aramid) threads are the result. They are further refined, by dissolving the threads and spinning them into regular fibres. When woven, Kevlar® forms a strong and flexible material. If layers of the woven Kevlar® are combined with layers of resin, the resulting ‘rigid’ material is light and has twenty times the strength of steel. It is also superior to specialist metal alloys. However, Kevlar® is expensive due to the demands of the manufacturing process and the need for specialist equipment.
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