OTHER FIBROUS MATERIALS PRODUCED ON AN INDUSTRIAL SCALE

DuPont® was one of the first companies to attempt to produce silk fibroins on an industrial scale70, but perfecting the large-scale production of spider silks has proved arduous and challenging relative to some other materials. DuPont® manufactures ap­proximately 2 million tons of Kevlar each year, requiring 15,800,000 to 18,750,000 pounds of sulfuric acid.71 The process also requires petroleum products, substantial pressure and temperatures that approach 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit. The U. S. Army uses about 10,000 pounds of Kevlar for composite materials. Manufacturing costs could be lowered by reducing the amount of hazardous waste material generated during the production of Kevlar. Additionally, over the past 70 years, DuPont® has also been manufacturing nylon. This material initially nicknamed the “miracle fi­ber.” One of first applications for nylon was socks, but other uses have expanded into clothing, carpeting, ropes, and the automobile industry. Despite the benefits of nylon’s use for a wide range of different applications, its production has a history of environmental concerns that include the reliance of large quantities of crude oil, adipic acid, and production of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas.

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