1949 Engineering Polymers
Engineering polymers suited for use in high-stress applications originated in the revolutionary polymer research, which led to the discovery of nylon. In addition to commercial uses in brushes, parachutes and women’s hosiery, DuPont scientists began exploring nylon’s potential in three-dimensional forms. Experiments in the early 1940s revealed that molded nylon exhibited the strength necessary to replace metal parts in industrial machinery.
Plastics department technical services laboratory, Chestnut Run
In 1950 DuPont trademarked Zytel® for its nylon molding resins which began to replace metals in the textile, automotive and appliance fields. By then DuPont’s research into high-performance polymers extended beyond nylons to include acetals and polyesters. Delrin® acetal resin, often called “synthetic stone,” was developed in the 1950s. It offers both metal-like properties and the ability to be molded into complex shapes.
During the 1960s and 1970s, DuPont continued to make breakthroughs in engineering polymers through new blending techniques and exploration of composites, plastics in which a filler is added to impart particular characteristics. In 1973 the company developed Zytel ST, a super tough nylon resin derived from blending nylon with other resins. The product was an immediate success with automotive companies seeking to reduce car weight by substituting resins for metal. Rynite® PET is a thermoplastic composite that contains uniformly dispersed glass fibers and provides excellent electrical insulation characteristics. Today, DuPont engineering polymers provide a broad portfolio of materials for automotive, electrical, electronic, consumer and industrial applications.