August 01, 2006
Liquid Armor

Slashdot linked up this Business Week article detailing a new invention in the personal armor field:

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.

I bet this looks cool on video. Hopefully it actually works.

Update: Link now works, and a no-prize to Joshua for actually finding a video.

Posted by scott at August 01, 2006 09:44 AM

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So... what holds this liquid armor in place, when it's not being hit by bullets? Is the liquid armor's container also bullet proof? If not, you're going to have leakage problems after the first hit. If so, why not just make the armor out of that, instead?

Posted by: Tatterdemalian on August 1, 2006 11:45 AM

Make the armor out of the containers, I mean.

Looks like another technological improvement on the good ol' sandbag to me, only with the same classic problem: the sand stops the bullets, but the sandbag doesn't, and once the sand leaks out of the bullet hole...

Of course, sand and bags are a lot easier to find and make than nano=glyco=silicate=whatever.

Posted by: Tatterdemalian on August 1, 2006 11:56 AM

From the article:

But in tests co-sponsored by the Army Lab, they found that the materials worked best when painted on Kevlar in ultrathin coats.
Posted by: ron on August 1, 2006 03:22 PM

Well, it helps when I can actually read the article. Synopses always leave out important stuff, like the fact the armor was developed by Israelis.

Leave it to Israel to invent new ways to shield people, while the Palestinians (and now Lebanese) invent new ways to blow up children for fun and profit.

Posted by: Tatterdemalian on August 1, 2006 06:11 PM
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