D3O: Have an impact on personal protective equipment

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Fifteen years ago, D3O’s “soft armor” was first worn by Olympic athletes. Today, the impact protection material is used in a range of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The impact protection properties of D3O are demonstrated with the help of an orange paste that you can wrap around your hands, and then if you hit with a mallet, you will notice that nothing happens to your hand. The first D3O material was developed by Philip Green and Richard Palmer, two inventors finalists of the European Inventor Award 2019, organized by the European Patent Office (EPO).

D3O materials, highly valued for their flexibility in normal conditions and their protection in the event of impact, are used in many types of protective equipment.

Philip Green and Richard Palmer

Mostyn Thomas, Managing Director of D3O, explains that the company was founded by an extreme sports enthusiast who was looking for armor that would protect him, while being thin, soft, flexible, breathable and comfortable to wear.

“D3O soft armor was first used by the US and Canadian Olympic ski teams at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Rooted in sports, the company has developed its applications in several industries, including motorcycle, with market-leading CE certified products to enhance biker security and defense, with head protection systems now protecting the US military against modern threats on the battlefield.

Advanced protection

UK-based D3O is also now focusing on PPE for industrial workers, as well as electronic protection solutions, such as phone cases and screen protectors.

Its portfolio includes more than 30 technologies and materials, including Impact Print, Impact Additive, Cured Foams, Formable Foams, Cured Elastomers and Formable Elastomers.

Products include sheet materials and standard solutions offering head-to-toe protection, as well as custom solutions designed in partnership with leading brands.

“D3O’s materials are based on non-Newtonian principles. This means that they are soft and flexible at rest but stiffen under impact to disperse the force energy over the entire surface of the product. D3O offers a range of patented and proprietary materials, with each formulation finely tuned to perform optimally for its end use, enabling the world’s most advanced protection.

How does D3O work? The idea is that in its raw form, its molecules flow freely, making it soft and flexible. And then, during an impact, the molecules become blocked, absorbing and dissipating the energy of the impact. After that, the molecules return to their normal flexible state.

How D3O molecules work

Industrial PPE

For industrial workers, there are head-to-toe protection solutions, including gloves, knee pads, and boot protectors.

“Our D3O Impact Print technology is where D3O materials can be printed directly onto substrates, which has allowed us to create the most flexible protective glove in the world. It offers unparalleled breathability, dexterity, low profile and increased coverage while meeting all protection levels of ANSI / ISEA 138. The technology allows the gloves to be up to 50% thinner to achieve the same ISEA level or offer impact performance up to 50% better at the same thickness. This allows for the perfect combination of comfort and protection for the wearer over longer periods of time, thus increasing PPE compliance.

D3O and Snickers Workwear have teamed up to provide knee protection for workers. The range includes the lightweight, Red Dot Design Award winning Ergo Craftsmen knee pads.

“The flexible D3O material allows the pads to nestle close to the knee with favorable pressure distribution. They adapt to every movement and protect the knees from stones or debris lying on the ground.

“The impact protection properties of D3O are demonstrated by using an orange paste that you can wrap around your hands, and then, if you hit with a mallet, you will notice that nothing happens to your hand. ”

Multiple sectors

D3O believes that a large part of its success is due to its cross-sector expertise.

“Each of our solutions has roots or applications outside of the industry in which it was marketed, our latest example being D3O Impact Print. The first application of this technology was in motorsport and found its way into PPE to improve the lives of workers. Beyond our world-class materials and products, our experience in multiple industries including consumer electronics, sports, motorcycles, defense and PPE, has allowed us to truly revolutionize impact protection in his outfit.


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