DuPont Safety & Protection (DuPont) has introduced a new patented smart-fiber technology, DuPont Nomex On Demand. The new technology gives firefighters up to 20% more thermal performance when they encounter emergency conditions. In emergency conditions, air temperatures can exceed hundreds of degrees. Nomex On Demand is engineered to react and expand when temperatures reach 250 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

The term “smart-fiber technology” refers to the ability of the new material — initially for use in thermal liners in firefighter turnout gear — to detect emergency conditions and automatically expand to trap more air for greater thermal insulation. Yet in routine conditions, thermal liners made with Nomex On Demand remain thin and flexible, providing excellent thermal protection and good mobility. Once activated, Nomex On Demand continues to provide maximum thermal protection, when and where it is needed.

“DuPont™ Nomex® On Demand™ is the first smart-fiber technology that helps protect lives,” said Thomas G. Powell, vice president and general manager – DuPont Advanced Fiber Systems. “It is a great example of our commitment to market-driven science – matching our many years of experience in high-performance fibers with an understanding of the evolving needs of the fire services industry. We are committed to protecting firefighters and other emergency responders with innovative products that will help enable them to perform their jobs as safely as possible.”

The new technology is commercially available in the US and Canada and will be available globally in late 2009. While initially available in firefighter gear, DuPont is reviewing additional applications for Nomex On Demand including auto racing, where 95% of today’s drivers wear suits made of DuPont Nomex; wildfire control; oil and gas operations; and military uses. DuPont estimates the demand for fire protection gear in the United States alone totals almost $300 million.

Nomex On Demand has been tested by DuPont, its customers and independent third parties. In addition, it meets National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards and has been certified for use by Underwriters Laboratories.

DuPont Nomex was the first flame-resistant fiber used in firefighter gear. Prior to its introduction in 1967, firefighters had limited protection. Both Nomex and DuPont Kevlar brand fibers are used in the fire services industry, with proven inherent flame protection, durability and comfort. About 70% of the thermal protection in a firefighter’s turnout coat comes from materials using Nomex and Kevlar.

DuPont is committed to helping protect firefighters and other first responders with science-based innovations such as flame-resistant fibers, chemical protective suits, and other personal protective technologies. The company provides leading apparel brands for protection from thermal, ballistic, chemical, biological and cut/abrasion threats. Brands such as DuPont Nomex, Kevlar, Tyvek and Tychem have been protecting people around the world for more than 40 years.