DuPont Invests to Protect More

DuPont News, June 12, 2012
Thomas Powell

To expand its portfolio of high-performance protection materials and to complement existing and new DuPont™ Kevlar® technologies, DuPont recently signed an agreement to acquire the assets of BAE Systems Tensylon High Performance Materials, Inc., and purchased a minority share in Nanocomp Technologies, Inc.

Tensylon, a wholly owned subsidiary of BAE Systems, Inc., based in Monroe, N.C., produces ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene tapes that provide strong and lightweight armor solutions for the military and other applications.  Nanocomp, a leading developer and producer of carbon nanotube (CNT) yarns and sheets based in Concord, N.H., manufactures CNT products for a variety of end uses, ranging from electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding and data transmission cables to armor and honeycomb core structures.

The new technology platforms alone, and in combination with existing and new DuPont™ Kevlar® technologies will enhance DuPont’s efforts to develop new ballistic, panel and core structure solutions for military, law enforcement and industrial applications, including ropes and cables for oil and gas and lightweight honeycomb type structures for aerospace.  DuPont estimates the total industry opportunity at more than $1 billion.

“This is the next phase in our plan to protect more people, critical processes and the environment from more hazards around the world,” said Tom Powell, president, DuPont Protection Technologies (DPT).  “These investments underscore our commitment to provide our customers with new, innovative materials to help them address their toughest problems.  This expansion of our portfolio of armor and structure solutions and technology platforms will leverage and build on our recently completed investment in DuPont™ Kevlar® capacity and capability at our new site near Charleston, S.C.”

With the acquisition of Tensylon, DuPont intends to launch new materials for armor that improve performance, durability and strength in helmets, body and vehicle armor.  Additionally, this technology platform will enable DuPont to provide new materials for other industrial uses such as ropes and cables that offer strong and durable support for off-shore oil and gas platforms.

DuPont and Nanocomp are bringing Nanocomp’s unique and proprietary CNT process together with DuPont’s extensive experience in fiber and sheet fabrication, handling and applications development to work on creating products for the armor and core structure applications.  DuPont’s goal is to offer products with superior lightweight strength, combined with new value-adding properties, such as electrical conductivity.

Beyond these technology platforms and with greater availability of higher performance fibers, DuPont is working on a range of new opportunities through collaborations with customers, manufacturers, governments and others in new and existing markets.