Richard Palmer & Philip Green – Flexible armour that hardens on impact (ceremony)


D3O is an almost magical material. It’s soft and flexible, so it can move with
you. But it instantaneously locks together on impact,
to protect you and then straight afterwards returns to its flexible state. Some liquids exhibit dilatant properties such
as corn starch in water. If you move them slowly, they behave like
a liquid and if you move them quickly they behave more like a solid. The material we based our technology on, it’s
actually been around for a very long time and amazingly it’s never really found a
commercial application apart from a children’s toy. Dilatant materials really fascinated us, and
we knew that there was some opportunity to invent something new with these remarkable
materials. The problem with these materials are that
they are liquids and you need some sort of a container to keep them where you want them. And we realised, instead of trying to contain
the liquid like a bottle of water, why don´t we put the water into the composition of the
material itself. So not having any lab equipment to our disposal
we immediately went back into the kitchen and started trying get the dilatant material
to impregnate into an open cell foam. We had really terrible moments at one point
where I was doing some more web research on patents and I actually discovered a Japanese
patent doing exactly what we were doing. We had to suddenly go back to the drawing
board, go back to our ideas and say: how can we solve this problem even better? So, we had no other option as to hunker down
to the lab and spend many hours to try and find a solution – which we did. And now we finally had it in our hands, we
refiled the patent, raised funding based upon the patent and the product and started a successful
business journey.

Michael Martin

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