National Medal Winner
Kwolek, Dr. Stephanie, National Medal of Technology, 1996
Sample of KEVLARŪ fiber and statement on development of man-made fibers
"Among the major achievements of the 20th century are the man-made fibers. Some people have even called this period of time The Golden Age of Man-Made Fibers. Although fibers from nitrocellulose were first made in 1884, it was not until 1940 that the first totally synthetic fiber, nylon, was commercialized...
"The impact of these fibers upon our well-being and the economy of this country cannot be overestimated. Many million pounds of these fibers have been used to clothe countless people, furnish homes and offices, supply medical and surgical needs, make ropes and cables, reinforce tires, etc. In addition, some of these fibers because of their strength, stiffness, chemical and fire resistance and/or high temperature stability have become an essential part of American industry...
"With the availability of so many man-made synthetic fibers, any new fibers will probably be of the specialty variety. However, fiber process technology leaves much room for innovation in the next century. Increased conerns for natural resources and the environment will be motivating factors here as well as in other industries."
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