- Reaction score
That actually is really impressive, and always reminds me of how smart & sharp some folks are.
Using electricity to expand or contract certain types of plastics to counter the impacts of an IED are the work of someone's brain that works far better than mine, wow
Interesting applications indeed
Was mostly looking at ships; equipment has special rubber footing to absorb a shock load and vibrations. It works both ways, so you don't get noise going into the hull and stuff still works after the ship rocks around. Not sure how the shock loads compare to an IED blast (smaller explosion but much closer), but think they have similar requirements for combat vehicles. For context, the full ship shock trial sets off a 10,000 pound charge underwater a certain standoff distance from the ship, so you get slammed by a big underwater shockwave. Here's a video from the USN test on the littoral ship;
I was on the last RCN ship to do our equivalent for FELEX, it was crazy. All the shock mounts work though!
There are some types of metal that create a voltage under tension/compression, so they had a prototype at DRDC to combine the two. Not sure if it worked properly, but the idea was the metal would take some kind of deformation and the plastic bit would get activated to counter the movement. Definitely would have been awesome if it worked, but one of those things were the unfortunate reality of tensile strength limits of materials rains on your parade.
A lot of exploratory science is like that though; you try something, figure out what works and what doesn't and eventually run through a spiral to hopefully get something useful.
A variation of the same plastic also changed colours (from yellow to purple) when you applied a voltage, but required a lot of power and usually burnt out pretty quickly. It was pretty fun to play with though, and basically just got applied as a liquid and would leave a conductive plastic film behind when the solvent evaporated. Ran through a whack of different scenarios and never really got anything useful, but the results got published so anyone else can read through it and keep moving it forward.