by David Crane
Armor Holdings, Inc. would appear to be on a serious ballistic armor technology acquisition mission as of late. First, on February 4th of this year (2006), they announced that they are now the exclusive licensee of shear thickening fluid (STF) technology that has been developed by the University of Delaware Center for Composite Materials (UD-CCM) in partnership with the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL). Shear thickening fluid is an application of nanotechnology that the developers claim can enhance the performance of ballistic materials (ballistic fiber/fabric, etc.) when STF is incorporated into it.
it’s struck by a high speed object, it immediately hardens and becomes more difficult to penetrate. Think "Stretch Armstrong" and "Stretch Monster" from the late 1970s. Same principle. Both of these (Stretch Armstrong and Stretch Monster) were filled with liquid (corn syrup, I believe) and were therefore both stretchable and easy to push into with your finger–if you did it slowly. However if you tried punching them with your fist (flat or on the knuckles), they were hard as a rock, and didn’t give. The development of Shear Thickening Fluids, a.k.a. "liquid armor", a.k.a. "liquid body armor", a.k.a. "flexible armor" was headed up by Professsor Norman Wagner (UD-CCM) and Dr. Eric Wetzel (ARL).