Colorado – -(Ammoland.com)- A revolutionary liquid promises to reduce the weight of traditional body armor, while increasing freedom of movement and protection.
Liquid body armor has been a promising area of research for a number of years and it looks like BAE may have cracked this cutting-edge technology.
Tests indicate that the application of BAE’s shear thickening fluid (STF) to Kevlar can reduce the thickness of conventional armor by 45% while maintaining ballistic protection.
Shear thickening fluid is a revolutionary dilatant liquid made up of freely suspended particles that react to disturbance by colliding, locking together and becoming hard. However, incorporating the fluid into body armor has not been without obstacles. Gravity is a major concern when working with any liquid and this presents a major challenge when it comes to maintaining high enough levels of liquid in the correct places in armor. BAE approached this challenge by treating woven Kevlar with their shear thickening fluid.
When a bullet or a knife hits the treated fabric, the impact is absorbed and distributed over a wide area. In contrast to conventional untreated Kevlar body armor, which tends to bend inwards upon impact, often resulting in serious injury to the wearer. By saturatingwoven Kevlar with shear thickening fluid, the force of impact will be spread over a wide area rather than being concentrated in one place.
The result? Fewer broken ribs, less bruising and higher levels of protection for internal organs.
But, the benefits of liquid armor are not limited to ballistic protection. While a standard Kevlar vest offers good protection against threats, it is heavy, bulky and hot. Soldiers in combat situations may also have to add ceramic plates to their armor, reducing speed, flexibility and increasing the risk of heat exhaustion. By adding the Shear Thickening Fluid, the number of Kevlar layers in a standard vest can be reduced while maintaining the same level of protection. The resulting body armor is significantly lighter and more flexible.
Treated Kevlar may also be more durable than standard materials. Due to their tendency to extend inwards, conventional vests can warp and be unusable after sustaining an impact. Liquid armor absorbs and displaces the impact from a bullet by becoming hard, but it then returns to its flexible liquid state. This not only has implications for protection, but also the durability of armor. Shear thickening fluid could well be the answer to longer lasting, more flexible, lighter-weight armor.
Body armor offers effective protection for the torso, but in modern conflicts, 70% of non-fatal injuries and 16% of fatalities result from trauma to the extremities. Until now, the sheer number of layers of Kevlar required for a conventional vest has impeded the development of armor for the extremities. By impregnating Kevlar with shear thickening fluid, the fabric becomes lighter, supple and, most importantly, does not negatively impact movement. Fewer layers of material are needed, making ballistic armor for the extremities a real possibility. This means that the number of injuries and deaths on the battlefield could be dramatically reduced.
The age of revolutionary liquid armors will increase the safety of our military and emergency services without affecting the freedom of movement they need to do their jobs.
SafeGuard ARMOR™ has been operating for 25 years, selling our body armor to thousands of individuals and companies across the world. Started in 1986, we have grown from a small operation selling bullet proof vests to local companies, to the worldwide leader in body armor. We now manufacture our body armor in the U.S. and Europe, and have multiple distribution points around the world. Visit: www.safeguardarmor.com