It took a little over a year of research and more than 20 attempts to get the right materials, but an Air Force Academy cadet and professor have teamed up to develop a very special kind of ‘goo’ that can enhance the protection of body armor.
It all started during a chemistry class experiment back in 2014, when Cadet 1st Class Hayley Weir was assigned epoxy, Kevlar, and carbon fiber to whip up a material that could stop bullets – sounds like a routine science class.
Weir however, immediately latched onto the project.
It’s “like Under Armour, for real,” Hayley said.
The ‘goo’ is super strong, strong enough to stop a .44-caliber pistol round, yet flexible enough to protect your more “sensitive areas.” The Air Force says that test results found her material can stop a 9mm round and a .44 magnum round, and Hayley has a handful of mushroom-shaped bullet casings to prove it.
Weir’s idea really took off when she teamed up with academy military and strategic studies professor Ryan Burke.
Burke, with Marine Corps experience, was able to bring some very valuable insight to the table, being that he is familiar with the bulky nature of current body armor.
“When she came to me with this idea, I said ‘let’s do it,’” he said. “Even if it is a miserable failure, I was interested in trying.”
Weir says “it’s the properties of non-Newtonian fluids” that make her patent-pending material so strong. Hayley plans to continue her research at Clemson University after graduating from the United States Air Force Academy.