A team of Johns Hopkins University researchers created shock-absorbing material that protects like a metal, but is lighter, stronger, reusable. The new foam-like material could be a game-changer for helmets, body armor, and automobile and aerospace parts.
The research team was able to add strength while reducing weight with high energy-absorbing liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs), which have been used mainly in actuators and robotics.
During experiments to test the material’s ability to withstand impact, it held up against strikes from objects weighting about four to 15 pounds, coming at speeds of up to about 22 miles per hour. The tests were limited to 22 miles per hour due to limits of the testing machines, but the team is confident the padding could safely absorb even greater impacts.