Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Nano Shield

PostedJune 25, 2006

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Randy Atkins:  “Bullet-resistant” Kevlar clothing wasn’t designed to stop sharp objects.  So Norman Wagner, a University of Delaware chemical engineer, is treating the fabric with a liquid containing ceramic nanoparticles.

Norman Wagner:  Under the right conditions, such as being stabbed, the liquid transitions to a solid-like material.

Randy Atkins:  He says that protective response occurs less than a millisecond after impact from, say, flying bomb debris.

Norman Wagner:  May not be able to stop a bullet, but could certainly help protect against small, sharp, fast-moving metal fragments in these blast events.

Randy Atkins:  The technology may provide the first comfortably-worn protection for soldiers’ arms and legs.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP Radio.

Wagner says prototypes may be available this summer.  To find out more about this story, go to and click on “Innovative Engineering” under "Quick Links" at the very bottom of the page.