De­vel­oper of Kevlar, DuPont re­searcher passed away

Chemical Industry Digest - - News & Views -

Charles Sham­be­lan, a DuPont re­search chemist who played a key role in the de­vel­op­ment of Kevlar, the syn­thetic fiber used in bul­let­proof vests, died from heart fail­ure on May 13. Sham­be­lan worked at DuPont from 1957 un­til 1989, when he re­tired.

While Stephanie Kwolek in­vented Kevlar at DuPont in 1965, Sham­be­lan and oth­ers at the ex­per­i­men­tal lab­o­ra­tory where he worked made the ma­te­rial com­mer­cially vi­able. Sham­be­lan re­port­edly took Kevlar from the test tube stage and de­vel­oped large enough quan­ti­ties to test its re­in­force­ment prop­er­ties in var­i­ous prod­ucts. Kevlar is best known for lin­ing bul­let­proof vests and body ar­mor and is cred­ited with sav­ing the lives of thou­sands of po­lice of­fi­cers.

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