spun gold

kevlar 2Remember when Kevlar sails were introduced to sailing? A total revolution was ushered in, one that not only significantly upped the performance factor, but the financial one as well. Seemingly quaint as evidenced by today’s menacing black sails,

Kevlar sails were (and to lesser degree still are today) pretty amazing. Most sailmakers managed to not quite know how to properly engineer and build good Kevlar sails, but they sure knew how to charge for them!

Would you owners who have been around awhile like to go back and add up just how much you spent on that spun gold over the years? The woman responsible for lightening your wallet passed away at 90 years of age. A moment of silence, please, and a smile of thanks.

The inventor of Kevlar, the lightweight fibre used in bulletproof vests and body armour, has died aged 90. Stephanie Kwolek was a chemist at the DuPont company in Wilmington, Delaware, when she invented the stronger-than-steel fibre in 1965.

It was initially intended to be used in automobile tyres. In a statement, DuPont chief executive Ellen Kullman described Kwolek as “a creative and determined chemist and a true pioneer for women in science”.

Kwolek is the only female employee of DuPont to be awarded the company’s Lavoisier Medal for outstanding technical achievement. “I knew that I had made a discovery,” Kwolek said in an interview several years ago. “I didn’t shout ‘Eureka,’ but I was very excited, as was the whole laboratory excited, and management was excited because we were looking for something new, something different, and this was it.” Read on.