Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

The Orange Goo Used In Everything From Armor To Football Helmets ( 96

dryriver writes: CNN has a story about a slimy, gooey orange gel developed by British company D3O as far back as 1999 that is very soft and fluid-like normally, but that hardens immediately when it receives an impact: It's a gel that acts as both a liquid and a solid. When handled slowly the goo is soft and flexible but the moment it receives an impact, it hardens. It's all thanks to the gel's shock-absorbing properties... Felicity Boyce, a material developer at D3O, told CNN, "if you hit it with great force, it behaves more like a solid that's absorbing the shock and none of that impact goes through my hand."

American football has become a huge market for the British company, where the gel is incorporated in padding and helmets to absorb the impact of any hits a player receives. D3O claims it can reduce blunt impact by 53% compared to materials like foam. The material can also be put inside running shoes to improve performance and reduce the risk of foot injury. Usain Bolt ran with D3O gel insoles in his shoes at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The material is being tested in body armor. "While we don't have a material that can stop a bullet, we do have a material that can reduce the amount of trauma that your body would experience if you got shot." There are also soft smartphone casings using the gel that harden when the phone is dropped and hits a hard surface.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Orange Goo Used In Everything From Armor To Football Helmets

Comments Filter:
  • SubjectIsSubject (Score:5, Insightful)

    by p0p0 ( 1841106 ) on Saturday January 06, 2018 @07:20PM (#55877051)
    "British company mixes cornstarch and water, makes billions."
  • by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Saturday January 06, 2018 @07:21PM (#55877053)

    Now as an American you'll say "Don't they all get terrible brain damage?"

    And the answer is "Yes, of course they all do. Have you met any rugby players?"

    • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Saturday January 06, 2018 @08:11PM (#55877223)

      buddy Hey, rugyb palyer I was.

    • Since Rugby players don't hit each others with a helmet, they have almost no concussion or brain damage since it’s the helmet that allows for harder hits and a harder projectile.
      • No, you just get cleats to the face. Nastiest black eye I've ever seen was on my cousin who nearly lost an eye.
        • "No, you just get cleats to the face."

          At which point, if whoever did it can be identified, he'll be sent off and possibly banned from the game. "Overenthusiastic rucking" has been banned for a long time due to the injuries inflicted.

          yes you get thuggish behaviour on the field, but thugs don't usually last long in teams who care about their position in rankings.

      • Also, it's the rattling of your brain in the skull that is damaging, so harder hits is worse if there's nothing to help absorb the forces.
    • by Ormy ( 1430821 ) on Sunday January 07, 2018 @02:14AM (#55878517)
      As someone who played rugby extensively, I can tell you this is simply false. American football is more of a [i]collision[/i] sport, whilst rugby is a contact sport. In American football a tackle means running into your opponent as fast as possible to take him out (put him to the ground), after that there is very little 'wrestling' for control of the ball, rugby is the exact opposite in that most of the contact involves wrestling for the ball rather than straight impact. High speed collisions between players are less frequent in rugby so less concussions. Also, as others have said there is no hard protective gear worn in rugby, less hard objects to hit means less concussions. Finally, the style of tackling used in rugby means that two heads banging together in a tackle is less common than in American football, so less concussions. I'm not saying rugby has less injuries overall, just a lower proportion of conussions/brain damage.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Surely a helmet (high tech or otherwise) will make almost no difference to concussive injuries, they reduce the chance of a skull fracture almost completely but the rapid change in speed the head suffers is barely changed.

    • If a rugby player tackled an opponent the way american footballers do, he'd be banned for life.

      As with boxing gloves, the padding players wear doesn't protect _from_ impacts, it allows them to inflict much harder impacts.

      Head trauma is taken extremely seriously in rugby. head high tackles and "blocks" seen in American football are completely banned.

      I know (and tell) the standard jokes about rugby players but having grown up in a rugby-crazy country (I don't like the sport myself) I can tell you that the bra

      • I can tell you that the brain-damaged behaviour usually starts long before they start playing the game - and conversely, that the top players (even the forwards) are skillful and intelligent. (Basically, the ability to be thuggish on the field attracts thugs, but thugs seldom if ever move out of the bottom rung sports teams. Paradoxically a lot of top cricketers are thugs when off the field.)

        It reminds me of the old joke "Rugby is a game for animals played by gentlemen. Football is a game for gentlemen played by animals"

        See also Roy of the Roasters []

  • by mejustme ( 900516 ) on Saturday January 06, 2018 @07:22PM (#55877057)

    Isn't this what you get when you mix water with corn starch?

    Some of the science behind it explained here: []

  • I watch some sort of light documentary describing this material. This material is used in things like protection bits in motorcycle jackets, and it was ready for me to buy. Other than that, this post sounds like an advertisement.
    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      I'm not sure how this would be more protective than a hard substance, if it hardens on impact. Is the point that it's more comfortable, at the cost of higher cost and weight?

      • Because it is soft, it will conform to the required shape. Upon impact, it would harden and more evenly distribute the energy to whatever shape is required. It is therefor more suitable to protect shapes that are dynamic or otherwise unknown during manufacturing. At least, that is the theory. If the shape is known, you are correct is assuming that the benefits are minimal and a more traditional material will offer better performance.
        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          So it actually just lessens damage to the skull, distributing the impact over a wider area of the skull but as it acts like a solid, it transfers the full force of the impact to the brain, in fact more than without the helmet, because deformation of the skull would actually absorb some of the force. The gel has zero shock 'absorbing' ability when it acts as a solid as claimed, it transfer all the force to the surface being protected it just distributes it over a wider area. Thick foam under a deformable hel

  • by skullandbones99 ( 3478115 ) on Saturday January 06, 2018 @07:23PM (#55877065)

    See [] for details.

    I see that it was a CNN report, that explains were the big science words were missing...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by thegarbz ( 1787294 )

      I see that it was a CNN report, that explains were the big science words were missing...

      Slashdot: News for the least nerdy of nerds, partisan political arguments that don't matter.

  • Can Gwyneth Paltrow promote Orange Goop for use in a enema?
  • they can cast it into "solid" forms. Try plastering your head with wet cornflour... Apart from the obvious mess & amusement, it will drip off the areas where you want the fluid to stay. The video on the site isn't half bad, watch it...

  • Someone discovered oobleck? (or some similar non-newtownian fluid) So.. corn starch, water, orange food colouring, and a strong, flexible, plastic bag to hold it in? (probably moulded plastic pieces that hold it in a particular shape until it's needed.) Why is this news NOW? Most high-schoolers would have known this recipe back in the 1980's.
  • British company D3O

    Oh, sorry.

  • by Anonymous Coward
  • I've had d3o armor in my motorcycle clothing for years. It doesn't feel that revolutionary different from the ordinary armor. It is slightly more flexible in the warmer weather, but stiffens when cold. I couldn't detect change in the softness when hitting the armor with my fist.
  • I'd like to find the opposite - something solid enough to be self-supporting at least, until it softens greatly on impact. It's easy enough to find thick liquids that thin under stress (ketchup being one example), but I want it *solid* until it's stressed.

    So far the closest I have is floral foam, which crushes easily into a powder.

    • The property you're looking for is thixotropy [], converse of this material's "dilatent" property. There are lots of examples, and millions of people dead over the millennia due to the property. A significant number of clay minerals have this property. Pile them together with lumps of lava on a volcano then pile more rocks on top (increasing the stress on the clay between the rocks) during an eruption, and eventually the clay will begin to move. When it will become less viscous, resisting the stress less, so m
  • While similar to how corn flour in water works, it's a different compound. More info here: []

  • Sounds like the exact definition of someone who needs a dominatrix.

  • Everyone here is calling it a non-Newtonian fluid, which is correct, but more specifically, it's a shear-thickening fluid. Oobleck is the shear-thickening fluid made of starch and water. Other kinds exist. Here's a Hackaday article about a shear-thickening fluid made of PEG and Repti-cal. [] I don't know what this orange goo one is made of, but it's probably a mixture of PEG, some dissolved viscoelastic substance, and a specific size of silica particles.
  • I've used D3O in some ski baselayers (Session) as well as bike armor/gloves (POC).

    D3O is flexible, sure. It does not offer great penetration protection.
    It is more protective per volume than foam armor in terms of spreading a focused blunt impact out over an area. (D3O loves the ball peen hammer demonstration)
    However, D3O is not necessarily better than foam for energy absorption (absolutely inferior to foam by weight).
    Foam backed plastic plate is better at both spreading the force out and much better at abs

This login session: $13.76, but for you $11.88.