A Polish lab tests a non-Newtonian liquid, assessing its viability for use in body armour. Jim Drury reports.
This liquid could change the way future body armour is made. Manufacturers Moratex remain tightlipped about the Shear Thickening Fluid's ingredients. But when fitted in a vest it stops bullets fired at 450 metres per second...and prevents the often lethal ricochets that can occur whilst wearing similar protection. Marcin Struszczyk is deputy research director at Moratex, the Polish institute which created it. SOUNDBITE (Polish) DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR RESEARCH AT MORATEX INSTITUTE OF SECURITY TECHNOLOGIES, MARCIN STRUSZCZYK, SAYING: "Even in cases when there is no penetration through the protective layer, the user can lose their life, or be badly injured. Thanks to the liquid's properties, we eliminate one hundred percent of this threat because we've reduced the deflection from four centimetres to one centimetre." It's a non-Newtonian liquid, meaning it doesn't dissipate when struck at force. Instead the liquid hardens, dispersing energy over a large area. Project co-ordinator Karolina Olszewska. SOUNDBITE (Polish) PROJECT CO-ORDINATOR AT MORATEX INSTITUTE OF SECURITY TECHNOLOGIES, KAROLINA OLSZEWSKA, SAYING: "This liquid is different from others in that its viscosity changes with the increase in applied force. This viscosity increases thanks to the subordination of the particles in the liquid structure. Therefore they form a barrier against an external penetrating factor." Moratex say the liquid-based solution is safer than traditional, mostly Kevlar-based, creations. Ballistic tests proved its resistance to a wide range of projectiles. Moratex say it won't be long before police and military forces can purchase their liquid-based product. Other possible uses for the fluid include sportswear, car bumpers, and road barriers.