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Saving thousands of lives

Stephanie Louise Kwolek (July 31, 1923 – June 18, 2014) was an American chemist, whose career at the DuPont company spanned over forty years.[1] She is best known for inventing the first of a family of synthetic fibers of exceptional strength and stiffness: poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide—better known as Kevlar.[1][2] For her discovery, Kwolek was awarded the DuPont company’s Lavoisier Medal for outstanding technical achievement. As of February 2015, she was the only female employee to have received that honor.[3] In 1995 she became the fourth woman to be added to the National Inventors Hall of Fame.[4] Kwolek won numerous awards for her work in polymer chemistry, including the National Medal of Technology, the IRI Achievement Award and the Perkin Medal.[5]

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,[1][2][3] 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.

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