April 23, 2015
By Tonya Johnson
This type of body armor is light and flexible, which allows soldiers to be more mobile and wont hinder an individual from running or aiming his or her weapon.
The key component of liquid armor is a shear thickening fluid.
STF is composed of hard particles suspended in a liquid. The liquid, polyethylene glycol, is non-toxic, and can withstand a wide range of temperatures. Hard, nano-particles of silica are the other components of STF. This combination of flowable and hard components results in a material with unusual properties.
During normal handling, the STF 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 Soldiers body, said Dr. Eric Wetzel, a mechanical engineer from the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate who heads the project team.
To make liquid armor, STF is soaked into all layers of the Kevlar vest. The Kevlar fabric holds the STF in place, and also helps to stop the bullet. The saturated fabric can be soaked, draped, and sewn just like any other fabric.
Wetzel and his team have been working on this technology with Dr. Norman J. Wagner and his students from the University of Delaware for three years. The goal of the technology is to create a new material that is low cost and lightweight which offers equivalent or superior ballistic properties as compared to current Kevlar fabric, but has more flexibility and less thickness, said Wetzel. This technology has a lot of potential.
Liquid armor is still undergoing laboratory tests, but Wetzel is enthusiastic about other applications that the technology might be applied to.
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Disclaimer: This article was not written by Silent Soldier.