The history of nylon will be in the spotlight at the University of Delaware, thanks in part to the support of DuPont Co.
An exhibit based on the notes and legacy of DuPont researcher Joseph Labovsky opened Sept. 25 at the University of Delaware Lammont du Pont Laboratory in Wilmington, Del. The exhibit shows the inner workings of the invention and commercialization of nylon.
Labovsky worked with legendary DuPont researcher Wallace Carothers, who discovered nylon in 1935. Labovsky, who died in 2013, considered Carothers to be his mentor. Nylon first was commercialized in 1939 as a fiber and later became used as an engineering resin in automotive, electrical and electronic and many other markets.
“Nylon turned out to be not only one of DuPont's most profitable products, but also a product that changed the world,” officials with Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont said in a Sept. 24 news release.
Labovsky donated part of his nylon legacy to the Delaware Academy of Chemical Sciences. That group then worked with a team from the University of Delaware and DuPont to transform the findings into a 3-story exhibit that includes a mini museum, personal notes and several early applications of the product.
Academy President Ed Adams — a DuPont public affairs manager — described the exhibit as “a great contribution by Joe Labovsky, and a great opportunity to celebrate the people who discovered and commercialized nylon.”
DuPont Performance Polymers Americas director H.H. Wong added that DuPont officials “are proud to help sponsor the opening of the exhibit, which allows people to explore the evolution of this material and experience how pervasively it impacts our lives.
“Through the notes and the relationship between Labovsky and Carothers, we can see just how important mentoring is to personal growth and achievement,” he said.
DuPont ranks as the world's largest nylon maker, producing nylon 6, nylon 6/6, long-chain nylons and similar resins and compounds at sites in the Americas, Europe and Asia.