Hi all, I'm a senior chemical engineer, and for our final project we have to design a new product which incorporates some form of chemical engineering. My group chose to couple non-newtonian fluids with rigid supports in order to create a lighter, stronger and safer body armor to wear while riding a bike. It would essentially be a shirt made of under armor-ish material. Inside the shirt, we would have small pockets of this non-newtonian fluid (which is basically a gel) flanked by plastic supports, mimicking the human ribcage.
The point of our invention is that the non-newtonian fluid coupled with the mimicry of the ribcage will provide more support than models already on the market, at a comparable price.
As a part of our final report, we have to do an economic analysis of our potential product, which includes marketing research. I just wanted to get some input from people who actually ride motorcycles. Is this something you would consider purchasing? It would be lightweight (no more than 3-4 lbs), breathable, and provide superior thoracic and spinal protection while costing no more than current "body armors" that are on the market ($150-250).
Here's a video of a non-newtonian fluid that is similar to the one that will be used in our armor: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7913529.stm
A simple yes or no is all I need, and any other input about what you guys are looking for in a body armor would be a fantastic bonus.
Thank you guys for your time and input,