Is liquid body armor actually within reach? What would the ATF say?
Poland’s Military Institute of Armament Technology in Warsaw has been skunk-working on liquid body armor. Specifically, non-Newtonian Shear Thickening Fluid-based body armor. “Shear-thickening fluids, unlike other liquids, harden when struck by a strong impact,” popsci.com reports.
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“With shear-thickening fluids (affectionately known as oobleck), the bullet’s force is absorbed by the liquid, then dissipated outwards through the fluid medium.” Previous attempts at oobleck body armor fell afoul of weight restrictions.
The problem is that even thin layers of the fluid-Kevlar combination are heavier than multiple layers of Kevlar alone. If Poland’s formula, which the country is so far keeping secret, manages to be as strong without adding in Kevlar or taking on weight, it might clear the way for liquid armor that moves beyond concepts and into actual use.
Here’s an example of shear thickening.
And if my grandmother had wheels she’d be a trolley car (as my father used to say). Still, what if body armor could protect cops against M855 or other rifle rounds? Would the ATF shut up then?