Cláudia Azevedo Lopes
Inovafil, in partnership with CeNTI and CITEVE and in a consortium led by TMG, is studying non-Newtonian fluids, known for their flexibility. The goal is to insert them inside textile fibres for personal protective equipment and workwear. Non-Newtonian fluids have a viscosity that varies according to the pressure applied to the matter.
“Non-Newtonian fluids work like sand: if you stick a finger in it, it gives in, and the finger penetrates the material. However, if we punch it, it becomes rigid when subjected to that impact”, explains the CEO of Inovafil, Rui Martins. A technology that is already being applied to football shin guards or motorcyclists’ protections, which are flexible, but become rigid on impact, providing protection. Now, the goal of the consortium is to apply this technology to textile fibres.
“This could mean great progress in the field of protective textiles. More comfort to articles that necessarily have to be rigid to be secure. A military man told us some time ago: the policeman already has a bulletproof vest. The bullet no longer enters and kills the police. Now the problem is that the policeman has to run with a very heavy vest, which is more difficult, and the thief might get away”, jokes Rui Martins.
The future, according to the CEO, is to develop a vest with a textile structure, or a textile with an associated polymer, using non-Newtonian fluids, which will allow it to be thinner, lighter and, consequently, more comfortable, but ensuring the same ballistic protection.