The lightweight, hard-wearing material that made (sound) waves
Bulletproof body armour. Pitch perfect music speakers and marching drums. The new synthetic material developed by Stephanie Kwolek for DuPont™ in 1966 has seemingly endless applications – influencing global industries to this day.
Kevlar® became the shorthand for Kwolek’s new polymer, known in full as poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide. Both lightweight and hard-wearing, flexible yet strong. It was a ‘best of both worlds’ originally destined for car tyres – at a time when petrol shortage was a big issue, making tyre durability key. And this was just the beginning.
It was thanks to projects focused on producing better performing tyres, that Kevlar® was discovered and is used around the world today. Closer to home, it was one of the main elements that formed the mid/bass cones of many of the speakers created over the past 40 years by award-winning audio company, Bowers & Wilkins®. Its creation also provided inspiration for the invention of more advanced materials that offer protective solutions to a variety of sports and recreational activities.
These include a new generation of polymers found in protective gear designed by Rheon Labs®. The active properties in these materials allow them to change from being soft and comfortable to wear in normal use, to stiffening upon impact and protecting the wearer from harm. Gecko Rubber has also developed airless bicycle tyres that feel like pneumatic ones, but never puncture. We’re proud to act for all these innovative brands that demonstrate the modern versatility of Stephanie Kwolek’s original discovery.