What is liquid armor

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By Tonya Johnson, Army Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, MD - Liquid armor for Kevlar vests is one of the newest technologies developed at the US Army Research Laboratory to help rescue soldiers. Life.

This type of body armor is lightweight and flexible, which allows soldiers to be more agile and prevent a person from running or aiming with their weapon.

The key component of fluid armor is a shear thickening fluid.

STF consists of hard particles that are suspended in a liquid. The liquid, polyethylene glycol, is non-toxic and can withstand a wide range of temperatures. Hard nano-particles of silicon dioxide are the other components of STF. This combination of flowable and hard components leads to a material with unusual properties.

?? During normal handling, the STF is very malleable and flows like a liquid. However, as soon as a bullet or splinter hits the vest, it turns into a rigid material that prevents the projectile from penetrating the soldier's body. said Dr. Eric Wetzel, a mechanical engineer from the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate, who is leading the project team.

To create liquid armor, STF is soaked into all layers of the Kevlar vest. The Kevlar fabric holds the STF in place and also helps stop the bullet. The saturated fabric can be soaked, draped and sewn like any other fabric.

Wetzel and his team have been working with Dr. Norman J.

Wagner and his students from the University of Delaware worked on this technology.

?? The goal of the technology is to create a new material that is low in cost and light weight, that offers ballistic properties equivalent or superior to current Kevlar fabric, but with more flexibility and less thickness. said Wetzel.

This technology has a lot of potential. ??

Liquid armor is still being tested in the lab, but Wetzel is excited about other uses the technology could be applied to.

?? The sky ?? s the limit, ?? said Wetzel. ?? We would put this material in a soldier's sleeves and pants first, areas that are not protected by ballistic vests but need to remain flexible. We could also use this material for bomb blankets to cover suspicious packages or unexploded ordnance. Liquid armor could even be applied to jump boots so that they would stiffen during impact to support the soldiers' ankles. ??

In addition to saving the lives of soldiers, Wetzel said liquid armor in Kevlar vests could help those who work in law enforcement.

?? Prison guards and police officers could also benefit from this technology? said Wetzel. ?? Liquid armor is much more stab resistant than regular body armor. This ability is especially important for prison guards, who are most often attacked with hand-made sharp weapons. ??

Wetzel and his team were recognized for their work on liquid armor at the 2002 Army Science Conference with the Paul A. Siple Award, the Army's highest award for scientific achievement.