Advanced Personal Protection

Knights in Shining Armor

From the Ministry:

The developers call it a “sheer-thickening liquid,” one which stiffens instantly when struck, and then re-liquifies instantly once the stress is gone…

Armor Holdings, inc., a company until now primarily concerned with supplying the Army with vehicle armor, bought the rights to this technology, and hopes to be selling suits of liquid armor by early next year. At first, Wagner thought that the liquid armor might be applied almost like peanut butter, in a relatively thick layer. But experimentation showed that the greatest protective effect was achieved by applying many very thin layers of the liquid to sheets of Kevlar. The sheer-thickening effect of the liquid is enhanced when the liquid is embedded in layers of Kevlar – the force of a blow is spread wider, resulting in greater protection for the wearer. By greatly enhancing the stopping power of Kevlar – less is needed.

This has been talked about off and on for some time. More info on this and other advanced armor technologies.

Plus, Jet Packs!


  1. The proper engineering term is ‘shear’, not ‘sheer’. It refers to pushing an part of an object sideways. The concept is used in aviation as well, as in the shear force exerted by a sidewind.

  2. greatUnknown, that’s how it appeared in the article I quoted, and I didn’t apply my skulljelly to it. Either the reporter got it wrong, or doctor Wagner has a unique spelling of the word. I would bet on the former. After some googling, it seems that almost every newspaper article has ‘sheer’ but the technical papers, like this abstract:, all have ‘shear.’ Looks like every reporter, and me, got it wrong.

  3. Its the same concept as when using cornflour with water. Existed for a while, but I guess they got a material made up that has even greater properties.

  4. Is this the stuff that has the glass particles in it? Hey, if it makes the body armor lighter and more flexible with the same protection, that’d be great.

  5. The technical name for this property is ‘thixotropic’, if you want to google for it. This behaviour has been known for a long time, as well as the fairly obvious idea of using composites so that forces can pyramid out from a point of impact. The catch has always been that these materials aren’t very stable – their precise behaviour changes, which materially affects the protection provided. I think that may have been a factor for giving up on thixotropic liquid rocket fuels, too (also something from long ago). I don’t know if these people have beaten that technical problem.