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Liquid Armour

Discussion in 'Multimedia' started by Kaer, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_32/b3996068.htm

    Body Armor Fit For A Superhero
    New, high-tech "liquid" gear could keep troops, police, and prison guards safer

    It seems crazy, Robert R. Schiller admits: the notion that you could shield yourself from bullets, shrapnel, and knives by donning the equivalent of a wet suit. But by early next year the president and chief operating officer of Armor Holdings Inc. (AH ) aims to be selling what he describes as "liquid armor" -- garments constructed from layers of tough fibers and fluid polymers -- to prison guards. By the end of 2007, he hopes, police and maybe soldiers will begin wearing the company's new protective gear as well. For the corrections market in particular, Schiller says, "it has the potential to be a breakthrough product."

    Today's versions of body armor are composed mostly of 20 to 30 layers of synthetic fibers. And while there is no question the death toll for American troops in Iraq would be far higher without it, the gear is bulky and can't stop high-velocity bullets, for example, or all bomb fragments. Even as DuPont (DD ) was field-testing the original Kevlar jackets in the early 1970s, researchers were hunting for lighter, tougher ballistic fabrics. Since then, companies have investigated a chemist's kit of exotic materials, from cloned spider silk -- a wonder of lightness and strength -- to newfangled sheets of carbon nanotubes that are among the toughest structures in nature. Israeli researchers at one company, ApNano Materials Inc. in New York, have shown off a breastplate of nanometals said to be five times as strong as steel.

    Armor Holdings' product is different from all of the above. Developed by Norman Wagner, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Dela-ware's Center for Composite Materials, it's a mix of polyethylene glycol, a polymer found in laxatives and other consumer products, and nanobits of silica, or purified sand. Together they produce a "sheer-thickening liquid" that stiffens instantly into a shield when hit hard by an object. It reverts to its liquid state just as fast when the energy from the projectile dissipates.

    Initially, Wagner and his collaborators envisioned armor that could be spread on a person, almost like peanut butter on bread, says Eric Wetzel, a researcher at the Army Research Laboratory in Aberdeen, Md. But in tests co-sponsored by the Army Lab, they found that the materials worked best when painted on Kevlar in ultrathin coats. By holding the fibers tight like a flexible glue, the compound spreads out the impact of a blow better than fibers alone. "The search in the past has been for stronger and stronger filaments," says Wetzel. "We've tried to change how the fabric interacts with the projectile."

    The liquid has other pluses. It's lighter than Kevlar and other widely used fabrics. That means Armor Holdings' new vests, in which the substance would be sandwiched between layers of ballistic fibers, might be lighter than current versions, which weigh four pounds or more. It also should be cheaper to manufacture, says Schiller. The Jacksonville (Fla.) company wants to continue to sell entry-level garments for $500 to $600.

    Any minuses? No one knows yet how well the material will hold up after years of wear and tear.

    Armor Holdings, which bought the rights to Wagner's discovery last February, pulls in the bulk of its $1.64 billion in annual sales from selling vehicle armor to the U.S. Army. While liquid armor seems tailor-made for combat personnel or police, the company is initially targeting prisons because the fabric resists punctures. That means it can protect guards from stabbings, something even a top-of-the-line bulletproof vest can't do.
  2. I object on the grounds that if the soldiers are protected so well they cannot be killed, it will make war a bit of a farce :)
  3. Anyone read "TinMan" by Tom Clancy? Lets just hope it dosent come with the electric shocks too :shock:

    Seriously though, could be a big bonus to a lot of armour types including ours.
  4. Yeah you can kinda replicate what the liquid does using water and corn flour....Make a mixture that is very close to 1:1.....so that it is a thick running liquid.

    Make it in a shallow cup, place a tea spoon in it and you can even pick up the cup with the tea spoon and it'll hold the cup up but if you slowly remove the sppon it'll just come out........OR tip some of it into you hand and crush it and it'll go all powdery then watch it turn back to liquid....it's kinda cool.
  5. wow that's impressive, although i hate to think what draggin liquid body armour pants will be worth lol
  6. The story quoted:
    ... from cloned spider silk -- a wonder of lightness and strength --

    Why can't they just clone huge spiders to fight instead then I ask? :LOL:
  7. Was it in "Dune" that some fighters had shields that protected them from fast moving objects, so they perfected the art of using a stiletto with stealth.?
  8. Yes mate, the shields would only stop fast objects.

    I liked the VOICE, channelled thru the sonic weapons.
    Moabe Deeb! :LOL:
  9. I have a vague recollection of whole weekends consumed by the role-playing board game, flagons of scrumpy and large quantities of substances that might be legal in some countries.

    I sometimes wonder that I made it this far.
  10. You should try reading the Dune series o_O.
  11. Couldn't play the game without reading the books.

    The first was interesting, the second a bit odd, the rest were off with the fairies.

    For me, the film ruined the books, because it implanted a set of what I found to be unsatisfying images.
  12. I like the original 3 hour movie actually.
    I thought it was quite true to the book.

    The TV mini series...I got thru 15 minutes, those sad, sad, pathetic fake background scenes were woeful.
    Producer and director should have been taken out into the wastes and tied up next to a Thumper.
    Worm Bait!
  13. cool were talking dune :)

    i like dune the movie (first) was good .. the name that kills maud'dib

    while i dont have that movie or the series , i have the new dune it doesnt have the killing names but its still a great watch... all 256 minutes of it.

    the spice must flow. :LOL: :LOL:
  14. *Worm sign detected*

    Nooo! My harvester!

    Many an afternoon spent playing Dune 2.

    I wonder if Proactiv would work for the Baron? :p
  15. and if you give it to the enemy they'll get a bad case of the runs and won't turn up to the battlefield :grin:

    sounds like cool technology. shame i'll be old and haggard and riding a harley by the time it gets developed for common use tho...
  16. Don't be too sure. It might be expensive, but I understand some slalom skiiers are using it for shin protection already.

    Could be great for soccer players too.
  17. AAAAAAHAHAHAHA!!! Good one~!!! :LOL: :LOL: :LOL:

    ...Oh... you weren't serious were you?? :shock:
  18. er. yep.

    If it works as lightweight flexible armour to protect the shins of slalom skiiers as they knock the poles down, I don't see why it wouldn;t work as a shin guard for soccer and hockey players, or as body protection for cricket players.

    The more people that find a use for it, the more likely it will be available at a reasonable price.
  19. You think soccer players would stop 'taking dives' though? :wink: