This project analyses the relationship between the research and development of synthetic materials for military and industrial use and modifications to women’s bodies in the US, from WWII to the present day. It explores how and why key actors in synthetic materials’ development and application, including US chemical companies, foundationwear brands and plastic surgeons, selected the female body as a site for employing new artificial materials and as a showcase for their exposition to American and international audiences. Ultimately, it seeks to understand the wider socio-political significance of synthetics and women’s bodies in wartime and post-war US, and to use this knowledge to generate critical questions and perspectives for material research with corporeal applications today. It focuses on three materials – nylon, foam rubber and silicone. Nylon, unveiled by explosives manufacturer DuPont in 1939, became the first highly technical material to be launched on the domestic market as intimate apparel for women. Foam rubber, originally used as wartime plane coating, was redeveloped in the late 1940s and moulded into artificial 3D designs to uniformly pad the female form, first in foundationwear and later as implants. Silicone, an engine lubricant developed to aid the war effort, was relaunched in the mid-1960s for use in breast augmentation surgery. A key methodological contribution of the research will come from its focus on how materials’ physical properties – their materiality – shapes their use and meaning. This material – and artefact-led research project employs an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on analytical methods from disciplines including STS, fashion and design practice, history of medicine and critical theory on the body. Original historical research from chemical company, plastic surgeon and foundationwear brand archives will be compared with investigation into materials’ meaning in contemporary bioengineering, to explore the gendered nature of synthetic materials and their relationship to ideal body image today.