View Full Version : Jax firm to produce flexible armor for GIs, marines

02-24-06, 09:29 AM
Jax firm to produce flexible armor for GIs, marines
Associated Press
Posted February 24 2006, 10:15 AM EST

BALTIMORE -- A Florida firm has been chosen to produce flexible body armor and other products based on technology developed at the University of Delaware and the U.S. Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Fabric used in the armor is treated with a solution that stiffens when force is applied, but remains fluid otherwise.

The first products, which will initially focus on protection for law enforcement and corrections officers, are expected to be introduced later this year by Armor Holdings, Inc., a Jacksonville company best known for providing armored Humvees for the military. Body armor vests, helmets, gloves and extremity protection are among the products planned, the company announced Friday.

Body armor fabric treated with the fluid, for example, can resist an ice pick that would normally penetrate the fabric. Tests have also shown the treated fabric is better able to spread the force of an impact over a wider area, said Dr. Tony Russell, chief technology officer for Armor Holdings.

When force is applied, the fluid, which contains nano-sized particles, acts ``more like a solid. It locks the fibers in place and makes them more resistant to penetration,'' Russell said.

``If you take a normal ballistic fabric that's pretty good at stopping bullets and you hit it with an ice pick, the fibers will move out of the way. So what you normally have to do is put more layers to stop that ice pick,'' reducing flexibility that can inhibit motion.

The new technology allows the vest to stop penetration with fewer layers. The treated fabric, meanwhile, has virtually the same look, feel, texture, weight and flexibility, Russell said.

``You may get a little residue on your fingers but it doesn't feel wet to the touch,'' Russell said.

The company hopes the technology will eventually lead to lighter, more comfortable body armor that will cover more of the body.

The technology takes advantage of a property known as shear-thickening, in which fluids become solid when a force is applied. A common example is a paste of corn starch and water. A spoon rested on the surface will slowly sick to the bottom, but if force is suddenly applied the paste can't move to the sides quickly enough.

The technology Armor Holdings will use was developed by the University of Delaware's Center for Composite Materials and the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory at the Aberdeen Proving Ground.

University of Delaware professor Norman Wagner said the technology has the potential for new products that will ``provide better protection to those who need it.''

In addition to body armor, potential applications include vehicle armor, bomb blankets, industrial environments and transportation _ ``anywhere you want to protect people against sharp flying objects,'' Wagner said.

On the Net:

Armor Holdings Inc.: www.armorholdings.com

Weapons and Material Research Directorate: www.arl.army.mil/main/main/default.cfm?Action35&Page35

University of Delaware Shear Thickening Fluid site: www.ccm.udel.edu/STF/


02-24-06, 10:56 AM
Jerry, since he lives up that a way near Jax, should offer to test the body armor when he rides his Harley....just in case.

02-24-06, 12:05 PM
The Jax Firm: A company that makes flexible body armor.

Jax: A character in Mortal Kombat who has metal arms.


I think not.