DuPont is investing $500 million to expand Kevlar production at its Cooper River plant, a move that will create 100 permanent jobs.

Construction is expected to start at the Bushy Park site in January and require up to 400 workers. The new plant's startup is scheduled for 2010.

DuPont said in September that it would spend more than $500 million to boost production of Kevlar, best known for its use in military body armor. On Tuesday, it called the Cooper River investment "the centerpiece" of that plan.

It will be the largest Kevlar expansion since the fiber was introduced in 1965, DuPont said. While the increased demand for Kevlar includes military applications, it also can be used for lighter airplanes and cars.

"The new plant at Cooper River, together with our other global assets, will help DuPont meet strong and growing global demand for Kevlar," said Thomas G. Powell, vice president and general manager of DuPont Advanced Fiber Systems. "It also will allow us to put our innovative science to work to develop new, differentiated Kevlar products using the latest new fiber technologies that protect people and processes."

DuPont's Cooper River plant opened in 1973. The site currently has 60 employees and makes Hytrel, a flexible plastic used primarily in the automotive industry.

For more details, see Wednesday's Post and Courier.