A-level Chemistry/OCR (Salters)/Designer Polymers

Designer Polymers is the seventh unit in the Salters Advanced Chemistry course.

Bulletproof vests are often made of Kevlar, a special type of nylon polymer that contains polymer chains arranged into sheets by hydrogen bonding. Kevlar was invented at DuPont in 1965 by Stephanie Kwolek and Herbert Blades.

Chemical Storylines sections

  • DP1 Designer polymers
  • DP2 The invention of nylon
  • DP3 Polyesters: from clothes to bottles
  • DP4 Kevlar
  • DP5 Taking temperature into account
  • DP6 Poly(ethene) by design
  • DP7 Throwing it away... or not?
  • DP8 Summary

Chemical Ideas sections

  • 5.4 Forces between molecules: hydrogen bonding (revision)
  • 5.5 The structure and properties of polymers
  • 13.3 Carboxylic acids and their derivatives (revision)
  • 13.4a,b The –OH group in alcohols, phenols and acids (revision)
  • 13.5 Esters (part revision)
  • 13.8 Amines and amides


  • DP2.1 Making nylon
  • DP2.2 Taking nylon apart
  • DP4 Comparing models of nylon–6,6 and Kevlar
  • DP5 Bubble gum - or bubble glass?
  • DP8 Check your notes on Designer Polymers