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"Real science opens windows for us to look through. We're right at the footsteps of the most interesting scientists around."
- Larry Niven

Monomol Mesh Armor  
  Material to protect selected areas that must bend (elbows, knees, and so forth).  

How best to protect oneself? In medieval times, metal was used for protection. But what if you did not want to ride around on Percheron horses, specially bred to bear the eighty-plus pound weight of a suit of armor?

Exercises finished, Mary put on her uniform carefully, sealing in vital points in monomol mesh armor, drawing up support boots that kept her legs from getting tired during long waits. Her rank carried no weapons in day-to-day. She was not expected to engage in regular combat. Physical violence in the USA had declined markedly. The therapied did not seek violence.
From Queen of Angels, by Greg Bear.
Published by Warner Books in 1990
Additional resources -

"Monomol" is short for monomolecular; like a monofilament line, it probably uses a string that is a single length of fiber, rather than (like most string or rope) a set of fibers twisted together.

Kevlar vests are created from a similar fiber. Kevlar is a synthetic polymer, formed from a long chain of monomers. Kevlar was first synthesized by Stephanie Kwolek in 1964 (working at DuPont); the fiber wasn't marketed until the early 1970's because of the extreme difficulty in working with this stiff synthetic fiber, first used in automobile tires.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Queen of Angels
  More Ideas and Technology by Greg Bear
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