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 -
Liquid Body Armor For TALOS Exoskeleton
'... instantly became rigid all over when something struck it...' - Larry Niven, 1966.
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.
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.
Entire Planet Modeled In New MS Flight Sim
'CIC uses [it] to keep track of every bit of spatial information that it owns...'
FlyZoo Robot Hotel By Alibaba
'... hotels that specialized in non-human service.'
Implanted Memories Provide Songs To Birds
Finches can't tell the difference.
Robot Tuna Swims As Fast As Nature's Tuna
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'
Shapeshifter Robot Is Comprised Of Cobots
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed. For an interval, the device struggled with itself...'
Google Commits To Fighting Deepfakes
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'
China Accused Of Harvesting Organs From Unwanted Groups
'The death penalty was his immortality, and he would vote the death penalty for any crime at all.'
Osmiridium Sounds Like Science Fiction (But It's Not!)
I can't resist science-fictional elements. Especially when they're real.
When Will We See The First Space Hotel?
'The heart of it was a vast hexagonal structure of welded metal, ten miles across...'
SpaceX Starhopper Has Flash Gordon Style
SpaceX makes retro cool spacecraft.
Mindar The Robot Buddhist Priest Offers A Blessing
'Not working is the hardest work of all.'
Does Your Company Need A 'Chief Dreamer'?
As far as the future is concerned 'they're the only experts we have'.
Helios Modular Touch Screen Wall Lights
'The walls and ceiling bore an irregular spacing of illuminum tiles...'
Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'
Robot Hummingbird Hovers Biomimetically
'With a buzz... it started out on its journey.'
Harvest Water From Air With Sunlight
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories