The Keviar Story—an Advanced Materials Case Study



Limited space permits description of only two examples of Kevlar applications research. There are numerous others. In the early product development there were some indications that Kevlar would go mainly into tire reinforcement. This has turned out not to be true. In the mid-seventies Kevlar was participating in only ten market segments and less than fifty specific applications, but today, it is in more than twenty market segments, serving more than two hundred applications, and continued growth is anticipated. Kevlar is produced in a 45 million pound plant in Richmond, VA, USA. In 1988, a second plant was started up in Northern Ireland and plans for a third plant in Japan were announced. The Kevlar innovation story exemplifies the kind of obstacles, interdisciplinary skills and systems approach involved in bringing a laboratory discovery to commercial reality. The story is still unfolding and applications currently not envisioned will undoubtedly become important in the future.

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