PLASTIC ELASTIC AS SPIDERMAN, STURDY AS SUPERMAN
The soft visco foam will be replaced by a plastic gel called “D3O”, which was developed in 2009 and has been developed to date. Probably many of you have seen it in social media as a gel toy which is definitely thrown on the ground. This “D3O” gel is able to do much more than it looks and is known.
First of all, this plastic gel will be used in the production of military and sports equipment. With its much lighter and more reliable protection than the older protective equipments, it has almost the same effect as superhero clothing. Let’s get to know the “D3O” plastic gel together.
How and Where Did It Come out?
In 1999, after skiing in the Alps, Richard Palmer thought that there should be more comfortable and better protection materials while he was looking at the bruises caused by the knee pads on his knees. Then, he co-founded “D3O Lab” firm to develop more comfortable materials for use with his team mate Phil Green from University of Hertfordshire Research and Development Center.
Palmer left his job, spent all of his savings, and in 2005, D3O firm started to produce lightweight, thin, orange colored polymer foam, which is easy to take shape, can be poured into desired molds, soft in its normal condition, and harden under impact and which provides high protection. The biggest challenge in developing smart fabric and textile product category was to ensure that the product was reinstated after the impact. The formula is hidden as a company secret.
A special gel developed in the UK becomes instantly hard when it gets hit, reducing the kinetic energy of the lead to half. The gel, called D3O, hardens immediately when a bullet is hit and minimizes the risk of soldiers being injured by lead or shrapnel. The gel is planned to be placed in soldiers’ helmets or clothing.
Think of a protection material that is so soft that the wearer cannot know of the presence of it inside their hats, jackets, or knee pads. And that this material provides protection as much as a helmet against impacts.
Richard Palmer, the inventor of gel, explained the mechanism of D3O:
“While moving slowly under normal conditions, the molecules in the gel are slipping over each other. In the face of a sudden high-energy impact, they are stuck together, jammed and solid. Thus, the energy that is exposed is absorbed in the gel.”
The molecules that make up the gel are in the “smart molecule” class and are returned to the gel form again after the impact is removed. D3O is a “Dilatant Non-Newtonian” fluid that is soft and flexible when left to itself, but hardens to one thousandth of a second under impact and distributes force and greatly reduces impact impact.
Superman and Spiderman Exactly in the Same Body
The UK Department of Defense awarded the manufacturer of the gel a prize of £ 100,000. If the British Army starts using this gel, it will replace the existing puffy and bulky armor. Although Richar Palmer described this as a transition from Robocop to Spider-Man, Superman is more appropriate.
Although the material is easily deformed when moved at low speeds, when it is wanted to be moved quickly under sudden and high forces, the molecules form and bind hydrogen bonds before they have time to move because of the weakness of intermolecular bonds. As a result, it absorbs the impact, distributes it across the surface and greatly reduces the impact.
The gel has already been used in sporting products. The D3O can be found on some ski gloves, knee pads and riding equipment. The D3O is used in many areas ranging from sportswear to military clothing, from motorcycle jackets to electronic goods cases.
The company has grouped D3O into 3 main groups. Of these, lightweight and soft, ST motorcycles and general sports equipment are used in the equipment of activities such as XT snowboard, which maintains the protection performance at various temperatures, and in SHOCK + shoes that provide protection against durable, versatile, wide-range impacts.
Some examples of the application are protective parts of motorcycle jackets and pants, protection for snowboard clothes, skateboard caps, shoes, protective equipment for horses, boxing gloves, military and personal defensive clothes, stunt protection jackets, work boots and phone cases.