Showing posts with label Stephanie Kwolek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stephanie Kwolek. Show all posts

Sep 19, 2014

History of Kevlar

Did you know Kevlar was invented by a woman? Stephanie Kwolek took a temporary position for DuPont during 1946. Her goal was to save enough money to pay for medical school. By 1964 Stephanie was still working there and doing research on how to change polymers into higher strength synthetic fibers. She was working with polymers that possessed rod-like molecules that were all lining up in a single direction.

In contrast to the molecules that had been forming in bunches, Stephanie believed that uniform lines would render the resulting material more powerful, although such polymers had been quite challenging to break down into a testable solution. She finally developed the correct solution that had rod-like molecules and at the same time looked dissimilar to every other molecular solution she had yet made.

The next step was to put it through a spinneret, a device that could generate the fibers. The operator for the spinneret initially refused to allow Kwolek to operate the machine, because her new solution was so different than any other before it, and he believed it would ruin the machine.

Kwolek refused to give up and made a fiber, which was as tough as steel. The material was then named, Kevlar and since that time it has been utilized for radial tires, brake pads, drums, skis, helmets, camping gear as well as suspension bridge cables. The most widely known use for Kevlar is bulletproof vests. Kevlar was a brand name, but has become generic term. In July 1995, Kwolek was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Perseverance counts.

Jul 11, 2014

Fifteen Detroit Facts

Detroit, Michigan might not be the city it once was, but it does have a prestigious history and a few firsts attributed to it.
    The very first news broadcast came out of Detroit on WWJ.
    Detroit was the first city to assign individual phone numbers, in 1879.
    It is potato chip capital of the world… per consumption. (Love those Better Made chips)
    Ice cream soda was invented in Detroit.
    Pizza deliveryman Richard Davis invented the bulletproof vest, after being attacked by three armed robbers during a delivery. (DuPont chemist Stephanie Kwolek, who passed away last month, discovered Kevlar in 1965).
    Detroit has more registered bowlers than any other city.
    The salt mines beneath Detroit could keep food flavored for over seventy thousand years.
    Elijay J. McCoy invented the best lubrication system for locomotives and other machinery in 1872. Manufacturers wanted the best, “the real McCoy.” (That’s where the saying came from).
    The first four-way traffic light was in Detroit, at the intersection of Woodward and Fort St.
    A one-mile stretch of Detroit road was paved with concrete in 1908, making it the world's first concrete-paved road.
    Vernor's Ginger Ale was invented there.
    The first air-conditioned car was manufactured in 1939 by Detroit's Packard Motor Car Company.
    The J.W. Westcott II, Detroit, is the world's only floating post office, as it delivers mail to ships as they pass under the Ambassador Bridge (I once rode on it).
    The first tunnel connecting two countries in the world is the Detroit Windsor Tunnel, connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
    Belle Isle, in Detroit is the largest island park in the US.

Nov 8, 2013

Four More Inventions by Women

Stephanie Kwolek invented Kevlar, a tough durable material now used to make bulletproof vests. For years she'd worked on the process at DuPont and in 1963, she got the polymers or rod-like molecules in fibers to line up in one direction. This made the material stronger than others, where molecules were arranged in bundles. In fact, the new material was as strong as steel! Kwolek's technology also went on to be used for making suspension bridge cables, helmets, brake pads, skis, and camping gear.

Patricia Bath, MD - Patented in 1988, a new method of removing cataracts. The medical laser instrument made the procedure more accurate and is termed the cataract Laserphacoprobe. As a laser scientist and inventor, she has 5 patents on the laser cataract surgery device covering the United States, Canada, Japan, and Europe.

What is the Blissymbol Printer? It's a software program invented by a Canadian 12-year-old in the mid-1980s. Rachel Zimmerman's printer enables those with severe physical disabilities like cerebral palsy, to communicate. The user records their thoughts by touching symbols on a page or board through the use of a special touch pad, the printer then translates the symbols into a written language. Zimmerman's system started as a project for a school science fair, but ended up competing and winning a silver medal in a nationwide contest, as well as gaining her the YTV Television Youth Achievement Award.

Before the paper bag, the first version was shaped like an envelope, with no flat bottom.  Margaret Knight created a machine to cut, fold, and glue square bottoms to paper bags and gained a patent for it in 1871, but not without a lawsuit against a fellow who stole her idea. His defense was "a woman could never design such an innovative machine," but she had the drawings to prove the invention was hers and she won the case. Knight's career with inventions started at age 12, when she developed a stop-motion device that immediately brought industrial machines to a halt if something was caught in them. Over the course of her lifetime, she was awarded over 26 patents.