Troops to test liquid armour

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by eveyoz, Sep 4, 2006.

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    The Sunday Times - Britain

    The Sunday Times September 03, 2006

    Troops to test liquid armour
    Peter Almond

    SOLDIERS are to begin trialling a futuristic “liquid armour” that is worn like ordinary clothing but turns into a rigid shield as soon as it is hit by bullets or shrapnel.
    The armour consists of material impregnated with liquid silica that has been modified using nanotechnology. It is designed as a flexible alternative to the current military armour, which consists of Kevlar material reinforced by heavyweight ceramic plates.

    The American army hopes to use the liquid armour — which has been likened to the skin of cyborgs in films such as Terminator and RoboCop — in a new combat outfit that will enter service in 2010. British troops are also examining the concepts behind the armour, the technical name of which is shear thickening fluid (STF), for the Ministry of Defence’s Future Infantry Soldier Technology project.

    “We can’t yet say STF will stop every bullet, but we are already seeing how it provides enhanced protection for less weight,” said Eric Wetzel, the co-inventor of the substance at the US Army Research Laboratory’s materials centre in Natick, Massachusetts.

    A small British company, d3o Lab based in Hove, East Sussex, has already developed an STF-based foam that provides extra stiffening against impact in commercial products such as goalkeeper gloves, snowboarding shoes and ski suits. But the American armour, developed in conjunction with the University of Delaware, goes much further.

    The silica nanoparticles in STF move around like a liquid under normal conditions, but when struck lock together in a solid lattice-like structure that lasts only as long as the impact.

    A lightweight vest impregnated with STF has already been tested and has proved able to stop knife-stabs, fragmentation blasts, lower-power bullets and even hypodermic needles. At this level of development, it is suitable for staff such as police and prison officers.

    The next stage is to strengthen the armour sufficiently to withstand high-velocity bullets and shrapnel from roadside bombs.

    American and British officials are anxious to improve the effectiveness of body armour because of the constant stream of deaths and injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Conventional Kevlar body armour with ceramic plate inserts has cut the death rate, but is heavy and unwieldy and leaves legs and arms vulnerable to severe wounds.

    Apologies if it's been posted already.
  2. Sounds interesting. Let's see if it works
  3. One wonders if it will be used in a 'full body' configuration seeing as its lighter and more manoverable than kevlar. If so I'm sure it would provide much better protection.
  4. Reminds me of a novel i read a fewq years back. Can't remember the title, tin man perhaps?

    Anyway, the plot line is about a scientist who's police-officer brother is violently murdered by meth dealers, and who just happens to be working on a very similar type of reactive body armour. Needless to say, body armour works, brothers death is avenged! Jobs a good un! :D
  5. I had liquid armour most saturday nights in Aldershot. Didnt help much I have to say.
  6. This sounds pretty damned Kewl! Lets hope they keep it NATO only and do not allow other licensing.
  7. This sounds pretty damned Kewl! Lets hope they keep it NATO only and do not allow other licensing.

    Actually it'll probably be restricted to US only in case those filthy Euros sell the technology to the Chinese.
  8. I somehow don't think I'll be sticking my hand up when somebody asks for volunteers to trial the armour.

    If this stuff goes rigid when hit, does this infer that a few hits with bricks could immobilise the wearer?
  9. Just as long as AQ don't end up being able to make their bedsheets out of it.
  10. I'm sorry, but this line suddenly shifted me into a whole new train of thought:

    :lol: The ultimate pervs delight!! Coat yer knob with it, and get thrapping... Or think of the 'staying power' you could bring to the bedroom..
  11. The secret's out. It's just a Viagra coating.
  12. No because as it says in the article the rigidness only lasts as long as the force from the impact.
    im more worried that it will be a one hit wonder, ie that post hit once the liquid softens again it will pour out the hole.
    also if something does get through will it do the job that current body armour does and hold all the right pieces in the right place until they can get you to the doctor.
  13. It only stays rigid for a fraction of a second (for the impact) and then reverts back immediately, remember this is nano-technology. Hell, it might even end up Squaddie proof.
  14. Its only liquid at the application stage, the fabric is impregnated with the STF which then dries, leaving the fabric with the same handling qualities as untreated cloth.