Johns Hopkins University scientists have created a shock-absorbing material as solid as metal and as lightweight as foam.
This innovative, reusable material can be used to develop the next generation of helmets, body armour, and even automotive and aerospace parts.
According to reports, the researchers are already collaborating with a company to create helmets and protective gear for athletes and the military.
“The material offers more protection from a wide range of impacts, but being lighter could reduce fuel consumption and the environmental impact of vehicles while being more comfortable for protective gear wearers,” explained Sung Hoon Kang, senior author of the study.
Kang conceived the idea for a better, more energy-absorbing material after noticing that existing helmets and automobile bumpers didn’t function as well at greater impact speeds and were not environmentally friendly.
The scientists used liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs), a high-energy-absorbing component used in the robotics industry, to create a new body that could tolerate impact better.
During trials, the material absorbed impact from objects weighing four to fifteen pounds and travelling at speeds of up to 22 mph.
While the testing speed was limited by the machinery utilised, the team believes its padding could take considerably more damage.
“We are excited about our findings on the extreme energy absorption capability of the new material,” said Kang.
The research was published in the journal Advanced Materials.
Source: Johns Hopkins University