Developed the Kevlar Fiber, DuPont
Inducted in 1996
Stephanie L. Kwolek is now retired and working part time as a consultant at E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., Inc. In 1965, she developed the technology that became the foundation of the Kevlar fiber while working in the Textile Fibers Pioneering Research Laboratory at DuPont's Experimental Station. Kevlar is five times stronger than steel yet 43% lower in density than fiberglass. It is resistant to wear, corrosion, fatigue and flame and is nonconductive. Kevlar in bulletproof vests has saved the lives of thousands of police officers. It has replaced asbestos in friction products such as brakes and is used in fire blocking protective clothing, ropes and cables for use on offshore oil drilling platforms and in aircraft and space vehicle construction.
Ms. Kwolek's name appears on 16 patents; she is sole patent holder on seven. She has authored or co-authored 28 scientific publications and presented her work at national and international conferences.
Her honors and awards include the Howard N. Potts Medal from the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia for the discovery of liquid crystalline solutions of synthetic polyamides and resulting fibers, the Chemical Pioneer Award from the American Institute of Chemists, the Creative Invention Award form the American Chemical Society, the DuPont Honoree at the Bicentennial Celebration of the United States Patent and Copyright Laws, the SAMPE George Lubin Memorial Award for meritorious achievement in the advancement of material and process engineering, and The American Innovator Award from the Patent & Trademark Office. She had been inducted into the Dayton, Ohio, Engineering and Science Hall of Fame, the University of Akron's Polymer Processing Hall of Fame, and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
She is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemists, Sigma Xi, Phi Kappa Phi and the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia.