An orange goo that looks like the children’s toy silly putty seems an unlikely material to protect valuable technology products.
Yet this strange gel, also known as D3O, behaves very differently under sudden impact, as the molecules of this ‘non-Newtonian polymer’ lock together, immediately dissipating the force of a blow.
These characteristics make the goo an ideal product for a variety of protective purposes and it is now being used by a British company in protecting cell phones and computers.
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Magic goo: When the material is touched gently it is soft and malleable
Shock absorber: When the slime is hit violently with a mallet it dissipates the impact and protects the man’s hand
Popsci encountered the product at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a four-day event which finished on Friday in Las Vegas.
A representative from London-based company Tech 21 toyed with and then wrapped his hand in the slimy gel.
The man then whacked his fingers several times with a large mallet with no ill-effect, proving the incredible properties of D3O.
The patented gel was invented by British scientist Richard Palmer after a skiing accident in 1999.
Gloop: When not under stress, D3O is stretchy and slimy
The unique properties of the material mean it has been used in many types of shock protection
It is a non-Newtonian fluid – one whose viscosity differs from the Newtonian model that is followed by liquids such as water and gasoline.
Since Palmer and his team completed development of D3O in 2005, it has been used in a number of wyas impact protection, from winter sports clothing to use on the battlefield.
Tech 21 describe their field as ‘impactology’ – the ‘science of protection’ and they are now using the intelligent gloop in protective cases for technology products, such as phones and computers.
In 2009, a different company company won a £100,000 contract from the UK Ministry of Defence to develop the shock-absorbing gel in helmets for British troops fighting on the frontline in Afghanistan.
Now the material is used in motorcycle and sports equipment, personal protection, footwear and safeguarding electronics.
Silly putty is also a non-Newtonian fluid, but not as useful in a combat situation
Attribution: Daily Mail