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Nomex (styled NOMEX) is a registered trademark for flame resistant meta-aramid material developed in the early 1960s by DuPont and first marketed in 1967.  The original use was for parachutes in the space program.
Additional recommended knowledge
It can be considered an aromatic nylon, the meta variant of the para-aramid Kevlar. It is sold in both fiber and sheet forms and is used as a fabric wherever resistance from heat and flame is required. Nomex sheet is actually a calendered paper and made in a similar fashion. Nomex Type 410 paper is the original and one of the larger grade types made, mostly for electrical insulation purposes. The Spruance plant, in Richmond, VA, is the sole North American paper production site. The paper is used in electrical laminates such as circuit boards and transformer cores as well as fireproof honeycomb structures where it is saturated with a phenolic resin. Honeycomb structures such as these, as well as mylar-Nomex laminates are used extensively in aircraft construction. Both the firefighting and vehicle racing industries use Nomex to create clothing and equipment that can stand up to intense heat. All aramids are heat and flame resistant but Kevlar, having a para orientation, can be molecularly aligned and gives high strength. Meta aramid cannot align during filament formation and has poor strength. Nomex fiber is made in the USA and in Spain (Asturias).
A Nomex hood is a common piece of firefighting equipment. It is placed on the head on top of a firefighter's face mask. The hood protects the portions of the head not covered by the helmet and face mask from the intense heat of the fire.
Race car drivers have to wear a multi-layer Nomex driving suit & flame-resistant gloves, long underwear, balaclava, socks and shoes to protect them in the event that a fire engulfs their car. The FIA provides specifications for the FIA Standard 8856-2000 flame-resistant clothing to be used in racing.
Military pilots and aircrew wear one-piece coveralls (flight suits) made of over 92 percent Nomex to protect them from the possibility of cockpit fires and other mishaps. The remaining material is typically Kevlar thread used to hold the fabric together at the seams.
In the U.S. space program, Nomex has been used for the Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment on the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (in conjunction with Kevlar and Gore-Tex) and ACES pressure suit, both for fire and extreme environment (water immersion to near vacuum) protection, and as thermal blankets on the payload bay doors, fuselage, and upper wing surfaces of the Space Shuttle Orbiter. It has also been used for the airbags for the Mars Pathfinder and MER rovers, the Galileo atomospheric probe, the Cassini-Huygens Titan probe, and will be incorporated into the new Crew Exploration Vehicle that will replace the Shuttle after 2010.
The DuPont scientist responsible for discoveries leading to the creation of Nomex, Dr. Wilfred Sweeny, earned a DuPont Lavoisier Medal  partly for this work in 2002.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Nomex". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|