Non-Newtonian Fluid D30 Is Now Being Used To Save Lives
08 September 2018
This orange gel, developed by UK-company D3O, acts as both a liquid and a solid. When handled slowly the goo is soft and flexible but the moment it receives an impact, it hardens. It's all thanks to the gel's shock-absorbing properties.
D3O (formally "D3o") is a polyurethane energy-absorbing material containing several additives and Polyborodimethylsiloxane a dilatant non-Newtonian fluid.
The company, which is based in East Croydon, has agreed a long-term "strategic partnership" with DuPont, which means that it will be able to use the giant's impact protection material Hytrel to provide a hard shell over D3O's soft, flexible material.
This will enable the two companies to create products to protect everything from smartphones to motorcyclists to soldiers.
D3O currently makes 25 different products, including helmet lining for the military; D3O liners have been proven to help reduce brain trauma on impact. It also makes protective gloves for the oil and gas sector and mobile phone cases - GEAR4's protective case, with D3O inside, is currently available in 1,000 Carphone Warehouse stores.
Scientists at the British company D30 (pronounced D-three-oh) wrapped the fingers of cadavers in their flagship product, a bright orange putty, and proceed to bang away with a hammer. The grisly experiment was designed to determine the force the bones in the finger could withstand without breaking.
Oil rig workers often suffer injuries to the hand and as a consequence, there is a constant search for better protective gloves. The ones commonly used are bulky and lack flexibility. Enter “D30,” the remarkable “intelligent material” that is soft and flexible until it is acted upon by a force. Then in a fraction of a second, it turns hard, offering protection to whatever it surrounds, only to return to its original flexible state once the force dissipates. Prototype gloves injected with D30, based on the cadaver experiments, have received enthusiastic support from workers.
Developed in 1999, the material rose to prominence during the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, when apparel company Spyder used D3O's protective gel for the US and Canadian ski teams' race suits.
Since then, it's been used by Usain Bolt in the soles of his shoes at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the company has teamed up with many global brands in sport, electronics, defense and industrial apparel.
Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt has used D3O's sport insole, which is designed to improve performance and reduce injury.
Floria Antolini, the chief knowledge officer at D3O, said there were endless opportunities for the orange goo.
Polyborodimethylsiloxane is a substance called a dilatant that in its raw state flows freely but on shock locks together to absorb and disperse energy as heat before returning to its semi fluid state.
The commercial material known as D3O is in essence a closed cell polyurethane foam composite with polyborodimethylsiloxane(PBDMS) as the dilatant dispersed through the foam matrix which makes the product rate sensitive thus dissipating more energy than plain polyurethane at specific energy levels.
The patent cites optimal proportions for a shock absorbing foam composite formula : by volume, 15-35% of PBDMS and 40-70% fluid (the gas resulting from the foaming process, generally carbon dioxide) the remainder being polyurethane. D3O's technology is found in many sports equipment such as body armor.
D3O has been applied in the following areas:
- Sports, including ski and snowboard, lacrosse, baseball, fencing, cricket, volleyball, tennis, squash, ballet, boxing, shooting and sailing, mountain biking and cycling, equestrian and water sports
- Motorcycle apparel
- Cases for electronic devices
- Ice Skating and Figure Skating.
|Written by: Charlie Fischer|