D30 is an innovative material named for the developer D30 Labs, an impact protection company in the UK. The material has some very desirable qualities, in its normal state, D30 is soft and pliable but on impact the molecules lock together to absorb and disperse energy before almost instantly returning to its flexible state.
The D30 patented technology contains a chemically engineered material called a ‘dilatant’ to function as an energy absorber. The materials rigidity increases in relation with the rate of physical pressure applied. The reactive property of the materials makes it seem alive, this material is truly science fiction come to life.
D30 can be used in a variety of formulations depending on its intended use. The basic material can be chemically manipulated to allow the material to meet specific performance applications. D30s unique properties make it an ideal material for military, medical as well as personal protection items. The material is being combined with other materials and being woven into smart fabrics that are being used in everything from sportswear, footwear, to protective cases for sensitive electronics equipment.
Some of items already being made with D30 include:
- Military: Body armor and assault suits
- Workwear: Limb protectors, metatarsal protectors, boots, gloves
- Medical: Limb protectors, hip impact protection
- Sports: Sportswear including football, ski and snowboard, lacrosse, baseball, volleyball, tennis, ballet, boxing, shooting and sailing, cycling, equestrian and water sports.
- Motorcycle apparel
- Cases for electronic devices
If you are still having a problem understanding how this material works the best analogy I was able to find was in an article by Chris Woodford from www.explainthatstuff.com, in his article ‘energy-absorbing plastics’.
Chris Explains “Think of the long-chain polymers (like those found in D30) like oil tankers and container ships randomly parked in a huge harbor. Suppose you want to rearrange them, very slowly, so they’re parked much more efficiently and take up less space. Give all the captains plenty of notice and they can maneuver around one another with no problem: the water between their ships keeps them safely apart and lets them move smoothly past one another into a tighter configuration. But give them just thirty minutes to shift and, in their haste, those giant ships will start smashing into one another, making a solid, gridlocked, mass. Something similar happens if you try to move long-chain molecules in a shear-thickening plastic too quickly.”
Although the company and material has been around for awhile, its only recently come to my attention as the adoption of the patented material is starting to be incorporated into a variety of items by a growing number of companies.
D30, the impact protection company was established in 2001 by Richard Palmer, the first use of the patented materials was by the US and Canadian ski teams in the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy.