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D3O (formally "D3o") is a polyurethane energy-absorbing material containing several additives and polyborodimethylsiloxane[1] a dilatant non-Newtonian fluid.[2]

Polyborodimethylsiloxane[1] is a substance called a dilatant that in its raw state flows freely but on shock locks together to absorb and disperse energy as heat before returning to its semi fluid state. The commercial material known as D3O is in essence a closed cell polyurethane foam composite with polyborodimethylsiloxane (PBDMS) as the dilatant dispersed through the foam matrix[1] which makes the product rate sensitive thus dissipating more energy than plain polyurethane at specific energy levels. The patent cites optimal proportions for a shock absorbing foam composite formula : by volume, 15–35% of PBDMS and 40–70% fluid (the gas resulting from the foaming process, generally carbon dioxide) the remainder being polyurethane[3]. D3O's technology is found in many sports equipment such as body armor.


British engineers Dr Phil Green and Richard Palmer discovered the material in 1999, first isolating it at the University of Hertfordshire. Palmer and Green went on to found the firm D3O Lab to develop and market the product.[4][5] The company commercialized the D3O material in 2006. In 2009, the UK Ministry of Defence awarded D3O 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.[6]

D3O applications[edit]

An example of D3O being used in a kneepad.

D3O has been applied in the following areas:

  • Military[6]
  • Workwear
  • Medical[7]
  • Sports, including ski and snowboard, lacrosse, baseball, fencing, cricket,[8] volleyball, tennis, squash, ballet, boxing, shooting and sailing, mountain biking and cycling, equestrian and water sports[9]
  • Motorcycle apparel
  • Footwear
  • Cases for electronic devices[10][11]
  • Ice skating and figure skating[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Palmer, Richard (2008). "Energy absorbing material". US Patent 7,794,827 – via USPTO.
  2. ^ "Shock factor - d3o | Latest Features". physics.org. 2009-05-27. Retrieved 2012-09-07.
  3. ^ Richard Palmer & Philip Green for Design Blue Ltd, Shock Absorbing Material US patent 7,381,460 B2, https://patents.google.com/patent/US7381460
  4. ^ "A Superhero Suit for Athletes". Businessweek. 2006-10-13. Archived from the original on 2011-08-04. Retrieved 2012-09-07. Article was written by Maria Kamenev, a BusinessWeek intern.
  5. ^ "Real-life 'Flubber', made in the UK, saving lives in war zones and on the football field". The Daily Telegraph. 2014-08-19.
  6. ^ a b Harding, Thomas (2009-02-27). "Military to use new gel that stops bullets". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-09-07.
  7. ^ "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. Archived from the original on 2012-03-24. Retrieved 2012-09-07.
  8. ^ "d3o™". Gm-cricket.com. Archived from the original on 2012-08-27. Retrieved 2012-09-07.
  9. ^ "Sports - D3O Lab". D3o.com. 2010-09-15. Archived from the original on 2010-10-25. Retrieved 2012-09-07.
  10. ^ "The UK's #1 Protective Phone Cases featuring D3O® Technology". Gear4.com.
  11. ^ "Grip Case >> dbrand". dbrand.com.
  12. ^ "D30 Ice Skating Pants".

External links[edit]