Liquid Hydrogel for Shock Protection in Trauma
A team of researchers from the Technion Faculty of Chemistry (Prof. Y. Eichen and Dr. G. Parvari) and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering (Prof. D. Rittel and Dr. Y. Rotbaum) have developed and patented the use of a liquid hydrogel in shock protection systems that significantly mitigates the energy transferred to a body or a structure (e.g. explosion, bullet impact), thereby reducing the risks of traumatic internal organ (e.g. brain) injury.
One of the most damaging consequences of traumatic impact is the damage inflicted to the brain and other internal organs. Such trauma (traumatic brain injury) occurs without any significant damage (penetration) to the external structure (such as skull or helmet), and yet the violent elastic accelerations resulting from the shock can be extremely damageable and sometimes lethal.
As of today, the classical protection systems are geared towards defeating the incoming threat by means of strong materials. However, those are the very same materials that conduct the damaging elastic shock energy without mitigating it significantly.
During the past 5 years, a team of Technion researchers (Prof. Y. Eichen and Dr. G. Parvari, Dept. of Chemistry, and Dr. Y. Rotbaum and Prof. D. Rittel, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering) developed and characterized a simple and innocuous hydrogel, basically a mixture of methylcellulose and water of the kind used in the food industry. Call it “magic water”.
It so happens that this family of (so-called inverse freezing) of dilute solutions of hydrogels, in the liquid state, have a tremendous capacity to absorb shock energy, thereby providing the missing link of an efficient protective system. Different kinds of experiments were carried out over the years, some of which quite “realistic” like firing 7.62 mm bullets, or experimenting with explosive charges, and looking for the reduction of damage experienced by the target. The results were both clear and absolutely novel. A thin layer of “magic water” of the kind developed at Technion is a highly potent shock mitigating agent!!! Such a property has never been thought of previously.
This invention has been patented and the field of potential applications is very wide, ranging from bodily armor protection (helmets, boots, flak jackets), components packaging, aeronautical vibrations mitigation, car industry and ….the sky is the limit.
The concept is under accelerated development those days ready for adoption by industry in order to turn the concept into a marketable product.