"Like Under Armour, for real.”
That’s the way Air Force Academy cadet Hayley Weir describes the bullet-stopping material she created with the help of professor Ryan Burke as part of the extension of a chemistry project.
Capable of stopping a .44 caliber-magnum bullet cold, the gravy-like ooze that Weir came up with was an alternative to the epoxy, Kevlar and carbon fiber options she was given to improve upon in class. Thinking outside of the box, Weir thought of Oobleck, a creation of Dr. Seuss.
Using Oobleck, a cornstarch-thickened liquid, as a base, Weir came up with a goo that jams together when its molecules are struck by an object. The bigger the impact, the tighter the jam. What that means is that the bigger a bullet is, the faster is stops, the Air Force Times reports.
The goop showed enough promise — which may be the first time in history that phrase has been written — that Weir and Burke brought it to the Air Force Civil Engineer Center for testing.
According to senior AFCEC research chemist Dr. Jeff Owens, it was a success. "We're very pleased," he said. "We now understand more about what the important variables are, so now we're going to go back and pick all the variables apart, optimize each one and see if we can get up to a higher level of protection."
It isn’t going to be added to armories anytime soon, but there is certainly a possibility that Weir and Burke’s creation will be saving lives down the road (and, as a side benefit, allow us to continue to use the phrase “bullet-stopping goo.")