A new “bullet-busting” shock-absorbent gel is set to save the lives of British soldiers by substantially reinforcing their helmets.
The Ministry of Defence has awarded Â£100,000 to a small company that has developed a special substance that hardens immediately on impact.
It is hoped that the shock-absorbing substance will soon be fitted onto the inside of soldiers’ helmets reducing in half the kinetic energy of a bullet or piece of shrapnel and hopefully making them impenetrable.
The gel, called d3O locks instantly into a solidified form when it is hit at high impact.
“When moved slowly, the molecules will slip past each other, but in a high-energy impact they will snag and lock together, becoming solid,” said Richard Palmer, who invented the gel. “In doing so they absorb energy.”
The d3O gel has already expanded into a range of sporting goods and is found in ski gloves, shin guards, ballet shoe pointes and horse-riding equipment. The substance relies on “intelligent molecules” that “shock lock” together to absorb energy and create a solid pad. Once the pressure has gone they return to their normal flexible state.
The gel is stitched into clothing or equipment that is supple until it stiffens into a protective barrier on impact.
This has to be great news for the guys that currently lug ~200lbs worth of gear with them everywhere they go.