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Product typeFlashspun nonwoven HDPE fiber
CountryUnited States
IntroducedApril 1967; 51 years ago (1967-04)
Related brandsYUPO synthetic paper
MarketsConstruction, Packaging and labeling
Tyvek house wrap

Tyvek /tˈvɛk/ is a brand of flashspun high-density polyethylene fibers, a synthetic material; the name is a registered trademark of DuPont. It is often seen used as housewrap, a synthetic material used to protect buildings during construction. The material is very strong; it is difficult to tear but can easily be cut with scissors or a knife. Water vapor can pass through Tyvek, but liquid water cannot. All of these properties make Tyvek useful in a variety of applications.


Tyvek is a nonwoven product consisting of spunbond olefin fiber. It was first discovered in 1955 by DuPont researcher Jim White who saw polyethylene fluff coming out of a pipe in a DuPont experimental lab.[1][unreliable source?] It was trademarked in 1965 and was first introduced for commercial purposes in April 1967.[2]

According to DuPont's Web site, the fibers are 0.5–10 µm (compared to 75 µm for a human hair). The nondirectional fibers (plexifilaments) are first spun and then bonded together by heat and pressure, without binders.[3]

Tyvek is manufactured at the Spruance plant in Richmond, Virginia, and in Sandweiler-Contern, Luxembourg.


Tyvek USPS Express Mail envelope

Among Tyvek's properties are:

  • Light weight
  • Class 1 flammability rating.
  • Chemical resistance
  • Dimensional stability
  • Opacity
  • Neutral pH
  • Tear resistance

Adhesion and bonding[edit]

DuPont recommends starch, dextrin, casein, and animal-based adhesives over most synthetic-based adhesives, emphasizing the effectiveness of water-based and quick-drying glues as the best for bonding Tyvek both to itself and to a variety of substrates. DuPont also claims that the following adhesives are highly effective:

Heat sealing can be used to melt Tyvek and cause it to bond to itself, but this form of bonding tends to create puckers in the otherwise flat material. Dielectric bonding can be effective in some circumstances, as is ultrasonic welding.[4]


Tyvek coveralls
  • Tyvek coveralls are one-piece garments, usually white, commonly worn by mechanics, oil industry workers, painters, insulation installers, and laboratory and cleanroom workers where a disposable, one-time use coverall is needed. They are also used for some light HAZMAT applications, such as asbestos and radiation work, but do not provide the protection of a full hazmat suit. Tychem is a sub-brand of Tyvek rated for a higher level of liquid protection, especially from chemicals. DuPont makes Tyvek clothing in different styles from laboratory coats and aprons to complete head-to-toe coveralls with hoods and booties. The latter was notably used by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force as emergency limited CBRN gear during the Fukushima nuclear incident.[10]
  • In 1976, fashion house Fiorucci made an entire collection out of Tyvek.[11] More recently fashion retailer and manufacturer American Apparel has included white Tyvek shorts as part of its range.[12] Rock band Devo is known for wearing large, two-piece Tyvek suits with black elastic belts and 3-D glasses. In 1979, Devo appeared with Tyvek leisure suits and shirts made specifically for the band, with the band's own designs and images.[citation needed] In 2005 Dynomighty Design[13] introduced stitchless Tyvek wallets which can be customized with whatever imagery the customer chooses.[14] The ultralight backpacking community has begun to use Tyvek for the construction of extremely light yet durable backpacks.[15] In 2012, The Open Company released a foldable city map made of one of the stiffer variants of Tyvek.[16]
  • Increasingly, reused Tyvek material is being used by home crafters. Protective sleeves for Compact Discs and DVDs, tote bags,[17] and origami wallets [18][19] also use Tyvek-containing materials.
  • Tyvek is also used as a durable fabric in shoes.[20][21][22]
  • Tyvek is used in archery to construct waterproof target faces, replacing paper.[citation needed][23]
  • Tyvek is also extensively used for packaging in laboratory and medical equipment as the material withstands conditions used to sterilize equipment.[citation needed]
  • Race bibs, or race numbers are often produced on Tyvek paper, so they are less likely to rip during competition.[citation needed]
  • Tyvek wristbands are used at festivals, conventions, and events where admission and security are concerns,[24] as well as hospitals, resorts, nightclubs, schools, and reunions.
  • Tyvek was used to cover and protect the Reaction Control System (RCS) thruster ports from water and debris while the shuttle stack was exposed on the launchpad during the latter years of the Space Shuttle program.[25] The Tyvek covers were dislodged shortly after ignition and before the shuttle cleared the tower, posing no strike risk as the shuttle was travelling below 100 MPH.[26]
  • Tyvek is often used in garment and other textile labeling due to high durability and washability. [27]
  • NSW Police, Australia uses Tyvek overalls to keep the integrity of alleged criminals' bodies at a crime scene, until they have had a chance to do body swabs.[28]
  • Tom Sachs used Tyvek for the outer shell of the spacesuits used in his Space Program series of artworks. [29]


Though Tyvek superficially resembles paper (for example, it can be written and printed on), it is plastic, and it cannot be recycled with paper. Some Tyvek products are marked with the #2 resin-code for HDPE, and can be collected with plastic bottles as part of some municipal curbside recycling programs. DuPont runs a program in the United States where disposable clothing, coveralls, lab coats,[30] medical packaging and other non-hazardous Tyvek disposable garments can be recycled, as well as providing a mail-in recycling program for envelopes.[31]

Recently, plastic bag recycling has become more prevalent. According to the American Chemistry Council, these plastic film drop-off locations accept Tyvek.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ admin. "Tyvek® brand - For Greater Good™". Archived from the original on 2007-12-07.
  2. ^ "DuPont™ Tyvek® Marks 40 Years of Energy Efficiency and Protection". DuPont. Archived from the original on 2008-02-09.
  3. ^ Product Handbook for DuPont Tyvek
  4. ^ "Seaming and Sealing with DuPont™ Tyvek®". DuPont. 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  5. ^ DuPont: Tyvek Weatherization Systems archive Pdf
  6. ^ Factsheet 54 — Drivers Licences: Upgrading from Paper to Photo
  7. ^ Costa Rica Tyvek Envelopes
  8. ^ Isle of Man Bradvek Banknotes
  9. ^ Haitian Tyvek Banknotes 1980 and 1982 issues
  10. ^ Boosting SDF’s Nuclear Accident Response Capabilities. Japan Security Watch. July 13th 2011. Accessed 11th October 2014.
  11. ^ "Memoribilia:Fiorucci's Steps". Fiorucci Design Office S.r.l. 2004. Archived from the original (Flash) on 2008-02-25. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
  12. ^ "Tyvek Short - Shop American Apparel". Archived from the original on 16 July 2011.
  13. ^ FORKER, JENNIFER. "Crafters Find Tyvek Can Do More Than Wrap Houses". The Associated Press / CNBC. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  14. ^ "MIGHTY WALLET - THE ORIGINAL TYVEK® WALLET SINCE 2005". dynomighty. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
  15. ^ McNall, Ralph. "Tyvek Backpack". Forum Post.
  16. ^ Doctorow, Cory. "Clever-folding tyvek San Francisco map, with out-of-the-way landmarks". Blog Post. Boing Boing. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  17. ^ "DuPont™ Tyvek® for Disc Packaging Sleeves". Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  18. ^ How to make a Tyvek Wallet on YouTube
  19. ^ CD DVD DuPont White Tyvek Sleeves with 4" Clear Window and Flap (Automated Packaging Grade) 100 Pack Amazon
  20. ^ "Material".
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-28. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
  22. ^ "No Canvas, No Leather: A Reboot for the Sneaker". The New York Times. 31 August 2014.
  23. ^ TYVEK 80cm FITA TARGET FACE Archery Academy
  24. ^ uk.orakel.com
  25. ^ https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20120014272.pdf
  26. ^ Dashcam on a Space Shuttle - FRONT WINDOW launch. 2 March 2011 – via YouTube.
  27. ^ Printed Tyvek Labels - Fast Turnaround - Hi-Tech Printing & Labeling - Fabriclabels.com
  28. ^ Manodh Marks jailed over bomb threat on Malaysia Airlines flight from Melbourne Emma Younger, The ABC Updated 7 Jun 2018, 9:30am
  29. ^ Artist Tom Sachs' DIY Space Program Is Outmaneuvering Elon Musk And NASA With Plywood And Tyvek
  30. ^ Dilan (10 December 2015). "Cheap Lab Coats Review". Science Mirror. Archived from the original on 11 December 2015.
  31. ^ admin. "Recycling - DuPont Tyvek® for Industrial Packaging - DuPont USA".
  32. ^ "Plastic Film and Bag Recycling Collection: National Reach Study" (PDF). Moore Recycling Associates Inc.

External links[edit]