Impact Resistant Nylon
Nylons, also known as polyamides, are widely used engineering thermoplastics with an excellent balance of strength, stiffness and impact resistance. One of the dominant manufacturers asked me to present ideas for how to make even more impact resistant nylon by using only a very small amount of an additive.
I did some research and prepared a presentation which I showed to the materials experts at their headquarters. Surprisingly the person interested in impact resistance was not only unreceptive to the ideas presented but was actually rude. She refused to consider the idea even though I presented hard evidence from articles and books showing that it should work.
One year later, they discovered that their arch rival had just published a patent on exactly what I had proposed. It showed that at a very low addition level of the additive I had suggested, one could dramatically improve the impact resistance of nylon.