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Materials Of The Future Essay

2172 words - 9 pages


[TATSUYA SHIIHARA] Term 2 Semester 1 2014
1 | P a g e
Materials of the Future: Kevlar
In this day and age, advances in technology have led to the ability to stare knowingly up at space and
down to the smallest atoms. As a result, many efficient and effective materials have been discovered
and developed, known commonly as
polymers. Polymers are comprised of
monomers, individual molecules, which are
then attached in sequences of chains that
create the polymer. (Encyclopedia Britannica,
2014) With physical properties much better
than other materials, such as higher melting
points, strength and malleability, polymers
can either be naturally occurring (Starch,
cellulose, etc.) or synthetic (Teflon, Kevlar,
etc.). Now applied to nearly all aspects of
everyday life, they can exist in simple
objects such as gloves cards and piping, and also in much more sophisticated apparatuses such as
bulletproof vests.
Chemically known as poly-para-phenylene terephthalamide, Kevlar, one of the foremost polymers
used in the world today, is a cutting-edge, highly effective polymer that has been utilised since the
early 1970's, and is particularly renowned for its
ability to withstand bullet impacts. (Chemistry
in the Military, 2012) First conceived in 1965 by
Stephanie Kwolek, this synthetic polymer uses
much of its intermolecular structure for its
exceptional physical properties, and is
particularly used in the personal protection field,
with Kevlar being the foremost of materials in
bullet-proof vests. ( Marlow Ropes, 2013)

[TATSUYA SHIIHARA] Term 2 Semester 1 2014
2 | P a g e
Intermolecular forces are the forces that are between combined molecules that hold everything
together, and there are three types of these forces. These are; London dispersion forces, dipole -
dipole forces and hydrogen bonding. London dispersion forces, al so referred as Van Der Waal's
forces, are weak, instantaneous weak attraction forces that occur between the slightly positive area
of a polar molecule and the slightly negative area of another molecule. This occurs between all
molecules. Dipole-dipole forces exist between two polar molecules as a magnetic force, due to the
various electronegativity's of molecules. (See Appendix A for further information on
electronegativity) They are stronger than dispersion forces, yet weaker than hydrogen bonds. The
strongest bonding of the three, Hydrogen bonding is the result of attraction between a hydrogen
atom and a specific, highly electronegative particle and element. (Virtual Science Fair, 2008)
As can be seen in figure 1, the fabrication process of Kevlar is a condensation reaction, where
monomers join together with a small by-product. The 2 monomers in this case are 1, 4-phenyl-
diamine (para-phenylenediamine) and terephthaloyl chloride, with the by-product being
Hydrochloric Acid. (Chemistry in the Military, 2012) The 2 monomers are held together by dipole-...

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