Liquid Armor In Two Flavors: Shear Thickening and Magnetorheological
Liquid armor using shear thickening fluid (STF) is being developed at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. The STF referred to in this article is made up of hard silica particles suspended in polyethylene glycol, a non-toxic fluid. Kevlar fiber vests soaked with STF are pliable under normal conditions:
"During normal handling, the [fluid] is very deformable and flows like a liquid. However, once a bullet or frag hits the vest, it transitions to a rigid material, which prevents the projectile from penetrating the Soldier's body," said Dr. Eric Wetzel, a mechanical engineer from the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate who heads the project team.
(From Army Creates Liquid Armor)
Liquid armor could be used in bomb blankets, and even jump boots, which could be made to stiffen upon impact to support the ankle.
(From Army scientists develop liquid body armor)
"Shear thickening" fluids (also called "dilatant" fluids) have unusual (that is, non-Newtonian) behavior in response to a shearing force. Their viscosities increase or decrease as the applied shearing stress changes. Cornstarch and water form a shear thickening fluid; when poked hard with a finger, the mixture reacts as a solid. However, if you place a "cube" of it on a table, it slowly flows into a puddle.
Not to be outdone, MIT has been working on a form of liquid armor that uses a class of fluids called magnetorheological fluids. They are made up of nanoparticles of iron in a thick oil or syrup suspension. When a magnetic field is applied, the iron particles align and the fluid becomes extremely stiff. The degree of stiffness varies depending on the strength of the field applied. It would be possible to wear comfortable, flexible armor that would become rigid at the flick of a switch.
(Fluid aligned to magnet [bottom left], from Instant Armor)
Update: Take a look at these recent stories:
See a science fictional take on this subject in an excerpt from an early Larry Niven story; the flexible armor suit is the earliest reference I can find in sf. See also the article on AKROD v2 knee rehabilitation device, which uses a similar fluid.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/26/2004)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 40 )
Related News Stories -
DIY Taser-Proof Clothing
'His suit-shield sucked in the energy and discharged it...'- Philip K. Dick, 1954.
Look Great In Your Garrison Bespoke Bulletproof Suit
'McKie longed for his armored clothing…'- Frank Herbert, 1977.
Bionic Body Armor Makes You Dodge Bullets
Fascinating patent idea by IBM turns everyone - yes, everyone - into a bullet-dodging Neo.
Designer Bulletproof Fashion
Finally, a solution to that pesky assassination problem that you aren't ashamed to be seen in.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
NASA's Robotic Mining Competition
''Dave,'[Powell] said. 'You're a stable, rock-bottom mining robot...'
Should Humanity Switch To Robotic Pets?
'What about an exact electric duplicate of your cat?'
L'Oreal To 3D Print Human Skin
'...She helped the doctor spray on surrogate skin.'
LG Display Creates OLED Wallpaper
'A television that unrolled like a poster...'
Cool Foldable Mini-Quadcopter
'Eddie pocketed the bee cam...'
NASA's Subvocal Speech System
'She took a subvocal input device from its rack...'
Cicada UAV Dropped In Swarms
'We... dropped roughly a thousand eyes on Beta Hydri IV.'
AI's Now Being Taught Anger
Actually the Prime Radiant was just a display device.
Cicret Interactive Skin Display Prototype
'A strip of readout skin on my wrist...'
Lily Camera Video Sport Selfie Drone
'He set his camera to follow him, and it hovered behind him like a large tame bee.'
Metal Composite Floats Your Boat
'A metal that was apparently as light as cork and stronger than steel...'
Six Terabyte Solid State Drive Just 2.5 Inches
'A man or woman could carry AIs or complete planetary dataspheres...'
Israeli 'Food Replicator' Inspired By Star Trek
What flavor would you like?
Robotic Trash Can Wants Your Garbage
'The can pivoted on broad rubber treads and rolled toward her...'
Microbes To Terraform Mars?
'Terraform the little rock...'
NASA FINDER To The Rescue In Nepal
'The antennae of the Life Detector atop the OP swept back and forth...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories