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article imageUK Military uses new D3O gel in armor to stops bullets

By Chris V. Thangham     Mar 1, 2009 in Technology
A small British company has developed a special gel that stops bullet immediately on impact. The gel solidifies as soon as the bullet hits it protecting the soldiers wearing it.

What is D3O?
Current bullet-proof vests are bulky and heavy, the UK military is looking for a light weight material. A small company from Britain has developed a novel gel material that weighs less and protects the wearer at the same time.
Richard Palmer invented this D3O shock absorbing gel material, which locks the impacting bullets by forming a solid material around it. Thus the gel prevents the bullet from penetrating further and cause more harm.
Palmer and his company plans to put this gel material into the inside of soldier’s helmet and make it bullet-proof. As soon as the bullet hits the helmet with the gel material, the gel slows down the kinetic energy (speed) of the bullet or shrapnel and makes them impenetrable.
Richard Palmer told Telegraph:
"When moved slowly, the molecules will slip past each other, but in a high-energy impact they will snag and lock together, becoming solid...In doing so they absorb energy."
The UK Ministry of Defense has rewarded Palmer’s company with a £100,000 ($142,770) grant to do more research and develop suitable armor materials for soldiers.
The D3O gel is already available in the consumer market in sporting goods and used in ski gloves, shin guards and horse-riding equipment. They work under the same principle, they are flexible at first, but as soon they get hit, the gel material absorbs energy of the impact and becomes solid. Once relieved, it goes back to flexible state again.
The UK military hopes this D3O gel will be lightweight as well as protect the soldiers.
Palmer compared the existing armor materials to “cumbersome” RoboCop and compared his D3O gel to Spiderman’s suit which is “nimble, covert and flexible”.
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