What is the arrangement of the polymer chains in Kevlar?


A group of polymer chains can be organized in a fiber like a plate of spaghetti, or a box of spaghetti. You can put the polymer chains together randomly in a pile or you can orient them neatly side by side in a row.

It turns out that the orientation of the polymer chains is very important to certain properties of polymers such as flexibility, rigidity, and strength. Which orientation would you guess would be stronger when made into a fiber?


Click here to try an activity that explores this idea further:


CLUE #2: A Kevlar fiber is an array of molecules oriented parallel to each other like a package of uncooked spaghetti. This orderly, untangled arrangement of molecules is described as a crystalline structure. Crystallinity is obtained by a manufacturing process known as spinning, which involves extruding the molten polymer solution through small holes. The crystallinity of the Kevlar polymer strands contributes significantly to its unique strength and rigidity.

Kevlar Introduction

Clue #1

Clue #3

Clue #4

Clue #5

Putting the Pieces Together


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