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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"Full Liquid Jacket"

The Iraq Mis-Adventure has cost the lives of thousands of American soldiers with thousands more severly wounded. Today's body armour and protective head gear works very well, keeping the death rate at about 2 soliders a day - despite "the level of violence that we’ve encountered". But the protection is limited and as such has left thousands with out their limbs. One product may soon help with the extreme loss of extremities.

Liquid Armor

A new "liquid armor" could be the solution for protecting the parts of the body that aren't currently covered by standard-issue ballistic vests – arms and legs, where many of these devastating and life-threatening injuries occur. Co-developed by two research teams – one led by Norman Wagner at the University of Delaware, and the other led by Eric Wetzel at the U.S. Army Research Lab in Aberdeen, MD – the liquid technology will soon lead to light, flexible full-body armor.
The liquid - called 'shear thickening fluid' is actually a mixture of hard nanoparticles and nonevaporating liquid. It flows normally under low-energy conditions, but when agitated or hit with an impact it stiffens and behaves like a solid. This temporary stiffening occurs less than a millisecond after impact, and is caused by the nanoparticles forming tiny clusters inside the fluid. "The particles jam up forming a log jam structure that prevents things from penetrating through them," Wagner explains.

Very cool and very very necessary.