Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mylar®...a revolution in long chain polymers

In 1952, Mylar® was registered as a DuPont trademark for an extraordinarily strong polyester film that grew out of the development of Dacron® in the early 1950s. During the 1960s its superior strength steadily replaced cellophane because of its its superior strength, heat resistance, and excellent insulating properties. The unique qualities of the film made new consumer markets in magnetic audio and video tape, capacitor dielectrics, packaging and batteries possible. By the 1970s, it become DuPont’s best-selling film, despite mounting competition. It is also used as food wrap, for balloons, and by instrument manufacturers to produce high-quality drumheads.

"June 10, 1952: Marketing Mylar With a Film About a Film"


Randy Alfred

June 9th, 2010


DuPont developed Mylar, or biaxially oriented polyethylene terephthalate, along with the polyester fabric Dacron in the early ’50s. Mylar’s resistance to tearing and stretching, to heat and cold, to moisture and odors, and to electricity and chemicals made it a favorite for manufacturers of all sorts of goods.

But not without a little marketing: The 24-minute video at the...[bottom]...of this page is a gem from DuPont’s film department, aimed not at the general public but at businessmen. We say businessmen, because that’s what the ’50s were like, and because there’s a definite display of feminine charm here.

Various female assistants sashay around the set in hot pants or slink into fashionable living rooms and luxury convertibles in glamorous, shimmering ball gowns. Think: Hugh Hefner meets Mr. Wizard.

The film about a film has an almost hypnotic quality as the smooth-voiced presenter makes repeated, unsuccessful assaults on Mylar materials with corrosive chemicals, high voltage, and extreme heat and cold. For the sports-minded, baseball bats and bowling balls attack Mylar without result, a trampolinist jumps up and down on it without making it tear or stretch, and a trapeze artist flies through the air with greatest of polyester ease.

So Mylar found use in magnetic audio- and videotapes, capacitor dielectrics, floppy disks, batteries, product packaging, balloons and musical instruments such as drums. The Echo communications satellites of the early 1960s were giant Mylar balloons.

Stray toy balloons represent a danger to marine life, and the very durability that makes Mylar so attractive to manufacturers and consumers causes it to persist in the oceans (and in landfills) for a long time.

Dupont's 1955 promotional film...

What's It to You? [Part 1]

What's It to You? [Part 2]

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