Hit Me With Your Best Shot (padding for armor)

A lot of the RLSH wear armor of one type or another. From simple sports armor to full on ballistic protection and everything in between. Some even make there own armor to get that total custom look to it. One thing that almost everyone does to their armor, be it home made or store bought, is add a little extra padding. Possibly because you want it more comfortable, or able to take a harder hit or just because it doesn’t quite fit right.
So the question becomes, “What do I stuff under my armor and still feel manly?” Can’t very well use toilet paper like some teenage girl, can we. We need something macho and strong. And gadgety.
Enter D3o. That’s ‘dee three oh’ not dee thirty. D3o is a molecular super material that changes from gel to solid when impacted. It is sort of a Non-Newtonian fluid in jello form. It is gooey and pliable at rest, and very solid when impacted at high velocity. It has been available in Europe for a few years and is now making it’s way to the U.S. in high end sports gear. There has been a lot of talk about it in the RLSH community for a while.
I got a chance to test some of the new USA version D3o for Project EON some time ago. I tested the expensive D3o against a lesser known, much cheaper, type of polyurethane called Sorbothane.  Some of you may already be familiar with my findings but for those who are not, I am re-posting them here so they can be archived for the future.
I got a sample pack for testing of each product. The USA D30 called Deflexcion and the Sorbathane. I figured the best way to test the abilities of the materials was to place it over something fragile and then smack it with something hard. Like my big ass framing hammer for instance.
IM000452.JPG
I built a small frame to hold the edges of the d3o net like part in place.
ST1
It had a recessed part in the center so the d3o sample will be held above a voided area.
ST2
Then I placed the d3o sample in place above the void and screwed down a holding frame to keep the sides held tight.
ST3
Theoretically the force of the hammer should now be transferred through the entire structure making it all rigid and preventing damage to the wood below.
ST4
It actually became rigid enough to break. The force of the blow stiffened the whole sample. But with no way to dissipate it, it shattered.
ST5
The power of the hammer could now be transferred through the material into the wood.
Now lets take a look at the Sorbothane.
SO1
SO2
Its stretchy. It comes in 5 durometer levels. Which is a measure of how tough it is. 30, 40, 50, 60, 70. 70 is the toughest and the least stretchy. That’s the 30 I am stretching.
SO3
SO4
Laying each piece on its own wood sample, I proceeded to strike each with the hammer. You can see where I hit it.
SO6
No noticeable damage to the wood. I repeated this test with each of the samples. There was no noticeable damage to the wood in any of them.
Conclusion: D3o out smarts itself. It is too unforgiving if it is fixed on the edges. I feel if it is sewn into a suit and then struck it will probably not break like my sample but will instead transfer the force to the stitches causing the suit to become damaged. It would have to be loose in a pocket structure of the suit in order to be effective.
It dosen’t have any give under a forceful blow. so if you have it over your knee and are hit with a sledge, it will become solid and transfer all the force of the sledge to your knee. I can see making a helmet from it or padding over a soft area of tissue. But I wouldn’t use it over a boney area like the knees ankles and elbows. Also it is NOT available in raw form. You have to buy equipment with it already installed. The price of such equipment can be unforgiving as well.
Sorbothane on the other hand seems to maintain a gooey consistency and is probably rippling under the force of the hammer like a stone hitting the surface of a pool. I would like to get this on high speed film. You can buy it raw and add it to your existing equipment. The primary supplier being McMaster-Carr. Supplier of all sorts of industrial gadgetry and parts.

Tagged with: , , , , , ,