NOMEX is a trademarked flame-resistant meta-aramid material developed in the early 1960s by DuPont and was first marketed in 1967. Wilfred Sweeny, the DuPont scientist responsible for the discoveries leading to NOMEX, earned a DuPont Lavoisier medal partly for the work he contributed on this work in 2002. The NOMEX polymer is related to nylon but has aromatic backbones and because of this fact are more rigid and more durable. Unlike Kevlar, NOMEX cannot align during filament formation and has poorer strength. But NOMEX has tremendous thermal, chemical, and radiation resistance. It can be sold in both fiber and sheet forms and is used as a fabric wherever resistance from heat as well as flames is required. NOMEX sheets are actually a calendered paper that is made in a similar fashion. The NOMEX paper type that is one of the larger grades that's typically produced is typer 410 paper and these are made mostly for electrical installation purposes.
The Military Use
Military piolets and aircrew wear flight suits that are over 92 percent NOMEX to protect them from the potential of cockpit fires or other things that may arrise. Recently as well, troops riding in ground vehicles have also begun wearing NOMEX, the remaining material that is used to hold the fabric together at the seams is typically Kevlar. The use of NOMEX in flash hoods as well as in special forces was a great innovation but what really marked the greatest innovation was implementing it into the gloves, which brought the use of NOMEX more into the masses.
NOMEX gloves help protected soldiers against flash burns that are caused by IEDs and other explosives as well as protects the soldier against fires that can be caused by mine detonations, etc. NOMEX as a whole has made quite the difference to the lives of our armed forces.
Out Of This World
In the United States space program, NOMEX has been used for a lot of different things. It has been used for Thermal Micrometeroid Garments on the Extravehicular Mobility Unit, it also has been used as thermal blankets on the payload bay doors, fuselage, and upper wing surfaces of the Space Shuttle Orbiter.
NOMEX has also been used for the airbags that are gound on the Mars Pathfinder and Mars Exploration Rover missions, the Galileo atmospheric probe, the Cassini-Huygens Titan probe, as well as an external covering on the AERCam Spirit and will be incorporated into the new Crew Exploration Vehicle that will replace the shuttle.
The Fastest Material
The majority of racing suits, as well as apparel, are made of NOMEX fiber as well. When it comes to the timing necessary to escaping a fire every second counts and NOMEX racing suits are very valuable in the event of a fire on the track. One of the major benefits of these suits is the fact the fiber can not be washed out or worn away so these suits can last these racers a very long time. That is why 95% of the racers around the world wear suits and apparel made of NOMEX.