Innovation That Matters

Air Force cadet invents bullet proof goo

Work & Lifestyle

A USAF cadet has invented a goo-based armour using kevlar, thickening fluid and carbon fiber that is strong enough to stop a .44 Magnum round.

Sludgy liquid substances have never been the obvious choice for making bullet proof material, but a cadet in the US Air Force has invented a goo that can stop even a .44 Magnum bullet. Back in 2014, Cadet 1st Class Hayley Weir was in a class where the students were given three materials to make a shield – epoxy, kevlar and carbon fibre, but Weir changed the mixture, replacing the epoxy with a shear thickening fluid. And three years since that class, a material capable of stopping bullets is close to being finished.

“The armor industry is a multibillion dollar industry with people studying this on a daily basis as their main profession,” said Ryan Burke, a professor at the military academy and Marine veteran who collaborated with Weir on the design. He also said he expected someone would have tried it before, but after the two checked previous experiments – there was no record of anyone having done this before. “We knew Hayley had stumbled onto something unique here and innovative” continued Burke.

They’ve been working on the project since 2014, and only in December 2016 did they finally get a working prototype. Incredibly, the bigger the bullet the quicker the goo stopped it. The applications for this are seemingly endless as it would mould to any shape and size. It could be used on tents to make them safe to small arms and shrapnel, or can be used to make impromptu bullet proof blankets (it sounds like something Batman would invent). Weir and Burke currently have a patent on the tech for the next 12 months, by which time they’re hoping to have the goo refined and ready for production.

Another recent invention that could evolve warfare is this ultrasound device that lets users whisper to each other privately up to 30 metres apart. Anyone looking to make themselves bullet proof but doesn’t fancy coating themselves in goo could look into the Bullet Proof Suit. Other than stopping bullets, what other uses could be found for liquids that harden in an instant?



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