Saturday, January 23, 2010
The U.S. Army Research Office is currently funding research into using MR fluid to enhance body armor. A number of exciting projects are underway utilizing both ferrofluid and magnetorheological fluid. One of these looks at creating light-weight, very flexible clothing which can be transformed into heavy-duty body armor in less than one-hundredth of a second by generating an electromagnetic field to transform the fluids into a solid state.
A magnetorheological fluid (MR fluid) is a type of smart fluid in a carrier fluid, usually a type of oil. When subjected to a magnetic field, the fluid greatly increases its apparent viscosity, to the point of becoming a viscoelastic solid. Essentially, it's the new rapid prototyping but with apparel-based applications. It's a liquid that can be turned into a solid to create entirely new forms that were physically impossible up until now (latex doesn't really count since it cannot be scientifically controlled in the same manner). Pretty amazing.
Good video HERE. Thanks to Jeff for the heads up on this one.