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D3O (formally "D3o") is a dilatant non-Newtonian fluid.[1]

D3O is a substance used in impact protection due to its energy absorptive properties. In its raw state it flows freely when moved slowly, but on shock, locks together to absorb and disperse energy, before 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 or if hit by an object.


British engineer Richard Palmer discovered the material in 1999, first isolating it at the University of Hertfordshire. Palmer went on to found the firm D3O Lab to develop and market the product.[2][3] The company commercialized the D3O material in 2006. In 2009, the UK Ministry of Defence awarded D30 Lab £100,000 to fit helmets in order to reduce the kinetic energy of a bullet or shrapnel on impact, because of its moldable properties.[4]

D3O applications[edit]

An example of d3o being used in a kneepad.

D3O has been applied in the following areas:

  • Military[4]
  • Workwear
  • Medical[5]
  • Sports, including ski and snowboard, lacrosse, baseball, fencing, cricket,[6] volleyball, tennis, squash, ballet, boxing, shooting and sailing, mountain biking and cycling, equestrian and water sports[7]
  • Motorcycle apparel
  • Footwear
  • Cases for electronic devices[8]
  • Ice Skating and Figure Skating[9]

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. ^ web|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businessclub/10988649/Real-life-Flubber-made-in-the-UK-saving-lives-in-war-zones-and-on-the-football-field.html%7Ctitle=Real-life 'Flubber', made in the UK, saving lives in war zones and on the football field|publisher=The Daily Telegraph|date=2014-08-19
  4. ^ a b Harding, Thomas (2009-02-27). "Military to use new gel that stops bullets". Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  5. ^ "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. 
  6. ^ "d3o™". Gm-cricket.com. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  7. ^ "Sports - D3O Lab". D3o.com. 2010-09-15. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  8. ^ "Cases for electronic devices". Tech21.uk.com. 
  9. ^ "D30 Ice Skating Pants". 

External links[edit]