Wherever there is a need for thermal protection, there are usually NOMEX ® brand products to fill it. In its various forms, NOMEX ® has an ideal balance of properties for use in flame resistant clothing.

History and technology

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.

Wilfred Sweeny, the DuPont scientist responsible for discoveries leading to NOMEX, earned a DuPont Lavoisier Medal partly for this work in 2002.

NOMEX and related aramid polymers are related to nylon, but have aromatic backbones, and hence are more rigid and more durable. NOMEX is the premier example of a meta variant of the aramids (Kevlar is a para aramid). Unlike Kevlar, NOMEX cannot align during filament formation and has poorer strength. It has excellent thermal, chemical, and radiation resistance.

The polymer is produced by condensation reaction from the monomers m-phenylenediamine and isophthaloyl chloride.

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. NOMEX fiber is made in the USA and in Spain (Asturias).

Military use

Military pilots and aircrew wear flight suits made of over 92 percent NOMEX to protect them from the possibility of cockpit fires and other mishaps. Recently, troops riding in ground vehicles have also begun wearing NOMEX. The remaining material is typically Kevlar thread used to hold the fabric together at the seams.

The use of NOMEX in flash hoods and in Special Forces clothing was a great innovation; but the use of NOMEX is military gloves was the biggest move, brining NOMEX to the military masses.

NOMEX in gloves helps the modern soldier protect against flash burns caused by IED’s and explosions and further protects the user against the fire caused by mine detonations etc.

Simply, NOMEX has made a difference to the lives of our armed forces.

Out of this World

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

NOMEX has also been used for the airbags for the Mars Pathfinder and Mars Exploration Rover missions, the Galileo atmospheric probe, the Cassini-Huygens Titan probe, as an external covering on the AERCam Sprint, and will be incorporated into the new Crew Exploration Vehicle that will replace the Shuttle after 2010.