The discovery of Tyvek® was a chance occurrence by a DuPont researcher, Jim White, who in 1955 noticed white polyethylene fluff coming out of a pipe in a DuPont experimental lab. After examining this material, it was found that it had some very interesting properties. A program to develop the new material was set up, and a year later DuPont submitted a patent proposal for a strong yarn linear polyethylene.
The proprietary flash-spinning technology, which is the basis for what was to become a new engineered sheet structure from DuPont, took several more years to perfect. In 1959, a pilot facility was established for trial applications such as book covers, tags, labels and certain garments. In 1965, the new engineered sheet structure was registered under the trademark name Tyvek®, but it was not until April 1967 that commercial production of Tyvek® was started.
The unique structure of Tyvek® gives it inherent advantages over other materials. Specifically, it offers outstanding resistance to microbial penetration; superior tear and puncture resistance; clean peel; and compatibility with a broad range of sterilization methods.
In test after test, Tyvek® consistently outperforms medical-grade papers.