Retired DuPont chemist Tom Bair died last week in Delaware. Countless police officers and soldiers owe their lives to Dr. Bair because he was instrumental in inventing Kevlar, International Business Times reports.
DuPont chemists in the late 1960s and early 1970s were working on developing a fiber that was very strong. But they were having problems transforming certain polymers that had characteristics of high strength and density into a fiber that could be spun (and thus made into a fabric).
Bair discovered, through experimentation, how a certain high-strength/density polymer could be chemically treated (without loss of the polymer’s properties) so it could be transformed into a "spinable" fiber. Bair’s enhanced polymer was chosen by DuPont for further development, and the end result was Kevlar.
One of Bair's last wishes was for any memorial gifts to be directed to Wilmington’s Sunday Breakfast Mission.