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D3O (formally "D3o") is a dilatant non-Newtonian fluid[1] sometimes used for impact protection.

D3O is sometimes used in impact protection due to its properties. In its raw state it flows freely when moved slowly, but on shock, locks together to absorb and disperse energy, before instantly returning to its flexible state. This characteristic provides protection, as well as material flexibility. D3O's technology is sometimes used in skiing/snowboarding in beanies and ski suits. The material is sewn into the lining of the beanie. The orange "putty" is composed of freely moving molecules however, upon impact the molecules bind together turning the soft putty into a solid block. This may prevent trauma to the head if you fall or hit an object.


An engineer named Richard Palmer founded a company, D3O Lab, which developed D3O.[2] The company commercialized the material in 2006. Over time, it sold the material to various customers. Most notably, in 2009, the UK Ministry of Defence awarded the company £100,000 to fit soldier helmets to reduce half of the kinetic energy of a bullet or shrapnel.[3]

D3O applications[edit]

An example of d3o's protection.

D3O has been applied in the following areas:

  • Military[3]
  • Workwear
  • Medical[4]
  • Sports, including ski and snowboard, lacrosse, baseball, cricket,[5] volleyball, tennis, squash, ballet, boxing, shooting and sailing, mountain biking and cycling, equestrian and water sports[6]
  • Motorcycle apparel
  • Footwear
  • Cases for electronic devices[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Shock factor - d3o | Latest Features". physics.org. 2009-05-27. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  2. ^ "A Superhero Suit for Athletes". Businessweek. 2006-10-13. Retrieved 2012-09-07.  Article was written by Maria Kamenev, a BusinessWeek intern.
  3. ^ a b Harding, Thomas (2009-02-27). "Military to use new gel that stops bullets". Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  4. ^ "Hip Impact Protection Ltd is delighted to announce the launch of its innovative, next generation aid in the protection of hips of the frail and elderly, especially those with osteoporosis". hospital-technology.com. 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  5. ^ "d3o™". Gm-cricket.com. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  6. ^ "Sports - D3O Lab". D3o.com. 2010-09-15. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  7. ^ "Cases for electronic devices". Tech21.uk.com. 

External links[edit]