Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(FILE - Stephanie Kwolek, 83, shown in this June 20, 2007 file photo taken in Brandywine Hundred, Del., she wears regular house gloves made with the Kevlar she invented. Her friend, Rita Vasta, told The Associated Press) that Stephanie Kwolek died Wednesday in a Wilmington hospital. at age 90. (AP Photo/The News Journal, Jennifer Corbett)
Stephanie Kwolek, Kevlar inventor, dies at 90
Technology » DuPont chemist invented exceptionally strong fibers in the mid-1960s.
First Published Jun 20 2014 08:59 am • Last Updated Jun 20 2014 08:59 am

Wilmington, Del. • Stephanie Kwolek, a pioneering female chemist at DuPont who invented the exceedingly tough fibers widely used in Kevlar body armor, has died, colleagues said Friday. She was 90.

Kwolek died Wednesday at a hospital in Wilmington where she had lived, said her friend Rita Vasta, a chemist who also worked at DuPont. Vasta said Kwolek had been ill about a week though she didn’t know the cause of death.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Kwolek made her discovery in the mid-1960s while working on specialty textile fibers, according to DuPont’s website. She invented a liquid crystalline solution that could be spun into the exceptionally strong fibers now used worldwide in police and military protective equipment.

In 2007, Kwolek told The (Wilmington) News Journal that the discovery launched an exciting period in her career as the chemical company explored uses for her discovery.

DuPont management "didn’t fool around," she told the newspaper at the time. "They immediately assigned a whole group to work on different aspects."

DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman said in a statement that Kwolek was a creative, determined chemist as well as a pioneer for women in science.

"Her synthesis of the first liquid crystal polymer and the invention of DuPont Kevlar highlighted a distinguished career," Kullman said.

Vasta said Kwolek was proud of her work and pleased to learn that even police dogs had been fitted with Kevlar vests.

She also said Kwolek also worked to encourage other women to enter scientific fields once traditionally dominated by men.

"Whenever she had an opportunity to speak to teen girls or little girls, she used all that time to talk about her career in science and say it was important for women to go into science," she said.


story continues below
story continues below

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said in a statement that Kwolek had made the world safer. He called her a legendary scientist and an important part of the history of the small state.

Vasta said a Catholic funeral Mass is scheduled June 28.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.