Personal protection equipment

  • Protective gearSoldiers, astronauts to be protected by tough, flexible new material

    A team of researchers has developed a revolutionary material that has superior anti-penetration properties while remaining flexible. Inspired by the way nature designed fish scales, the material could be used to make bulletproof clothing for the military and space suits that are impervious to micro-meteorites and radiation when astronauts embark on spacewalks. The material emulates the skins of many species of fish — skins which are flexible, but which also protect the fish by hard scales.

  • FirefightingRedesigning wild-land fire fighter uniforms

    The most common cause of injuries to wild-land firefighters is not burns. When leaders at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) noticed their wild-land firefighters were experiencing more heat stress injuries — like heat exhaustion and heat stroke — than burn injuries, they wanted to know why and how to prevent them. They soon realized their uniforms were part of the problem. Working with a team at the University of California, Davis, they developed technical and design specifications for a new uniform aimed at increasing the comfort and breathability while maintaining the current level of protection against flames. In 2011, CAL FIRE approached the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) First Responders Group (FRG) requesting assistance in developing prototype garments.

  • EbolaImproved protective suit for Ebola caregivers

    An advanced protective suit for health care workers who treat Ebola patients, devised by a Johns Hopkins University team, is one of the first five awardees in a federal funding contest aimed at quickly devising new tools to combat the deadly disease. The JHU prototype is designed to do a better job than current garments in keeping health care workers from coming in contact with Ebola patients’ contagious body fluids, both during treatment and while removing a soiled suit. In addition, it is expected to keep the wearer cooler — an important benefit in hot, humid regions such as West Africa.

  • Gas masksNew gas mask filtration materials show promise

    Scientists are examining the possibility of metal-organic framework compounds (MOFs) — porous crystalline materials which are made up metal ions and bridged with organics — as a possible evolution in gas mask filtration technology. Thought MOFs may still be a way from real-world application, the impact that they might have on respiration technologies could be significant.

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  • Bionic brasBionic bra one step closer

    A Bionic Bra which automatically tightens in response to breast movement is one step closer to reality with the development of a new prototype. The development of the bra is the result of findings by researchers that without the right breast support, the movement of women’s breasts during demanding physical activity – in sports, the military, first response, and more – may cause long-term damage, including numbness in the fingers caused by compression of nerves on the shoulders, as well as neck and back pain. “Unfortunately, the most supportive sports bras tend to be the most uncomfortable to wear.” Making matters worse, “research has found that 85 percent of women are wearing bras that do not fit or support their breasts correctly,” one of the researchers said.

  • Protective gearImproved gas mask protects U.S. soldiers against lethal attacks

    Choking. Watering eyes. Blistering skin. Convulsions. These are all symptoms of a chemical weapons attack that can lead to imminent death. The lethality of such attacks, most recently the one in Syria in August 2013, can send tremors across the globe. For U.S. Army soldiers, however, chemical weapons present a real danger on the battlefield, and one that requires the most advanced technology to keep them safe. Scientists and researchers at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) have been working toward better protective equipment, including the iconic gas mask.

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  • First respondersImproving gloves to enhance first responders’ safety

    Firefighters wear protective gloves called “structure gloves” to keep their hands safe on the job. The structure gloves currently used by firefighters, however, are not designed for the precision movements first responders must perform. There are many different types of structure gloves available, but none fully satisfies modern firefighters’ needs. Today’s compact tools often have small buttons that require nimble movements. Bulky gloves can make it difficult for firefighters to complete simple tasks without removing their gloves and compromising their safety. As advanced textile technology and materials continue to develop, the science behind firefighter structure gloves has adapted.

  • Bullet-deflecting accessories16-year old Seattle girl escapes injury: her glasses deflect bullet

    A 16-year old girl escaped potentially life-threatening injury when the glasses she was wearing deflected a bullet fired from a car toward her Seattle home, the Seattle police said. The girl was asleep on her living room couch, with her glasses on, near 10:00 p.m. on Saturday when several shots were fired at the house from a dark-colored sedan. Most of the bullets went through the walls of the house, but one of them went through the front window, striking the bridge of the teen’s glasses. The girl suffered only minor injuries.

  • ConspiraciesDHS: conspiracy theories about DHS purchases unequivocally false

    Conspiracy theorists have pointed to several DHS solicitations for gear and ammunition as “proof” that the department is in the process of creating, training, and equipping a secret force, the purpose of which would be to suppress public dissent – or worse: one blogger wrote that “Another possible conclusion [regarding DHS’s ammo purchases] is that the bullets are intended to coerce and, if need be, kill us.” DHS flatly rejects these conspiratorial assertions as unequivocally false, saying that each and every purchase is in line with past purchases and in support of on-going, legitimate, and transparent departmental operations.

  • In the trenchesResearchers fabricate new camouflage coating from squid protein

    What can the U.S. military learn from a common squid? A lot about how to hide from enemies, according to researchers. Researchers show that material that mimics calamari skin is invisible to infrared cameras, which is a good thing since infrared detection equipment is employed extensively by military forces for night vision, navigation, surveillance, and targeting.

  • Personal protection equipmentNanostructured material stronger than a speeding bullet

    By David L. Chandler

    Providing protection against impacts from bullets and other high-speed projectiles is more than just a matter of brute strength; while traditional shields have been made of bulky materials such as steel, newer body armor made of lightweight material such as Kevlar has shown that thickness and weight are not necessary for absorbing the energy of impacts; new tests of nanostructured material could lead to better armor against everything from gunfire to micrometeorites

  • Personal protection equipmentNew military apparel repels chemical, biological agents

    Scientists are developing a new military uniform material that repels chemical and biological agents using a novel carbon nanotube fabric; the material will be designed to undergo a rapid transition from a breathable state to a protective state; the highly breathable membranes would have pores made of a few-nanometer-wide vertically aligned carbon nanotubes that are surface modified with a chemical warfare agent-responsive functional layer

  • Personal protection equipmentMantis shrimp could inspire new body, vehicle armor

    The unique and highly complex structure of fist-like club of mantis shrimp could transform materials used to create military body armor and vehicle and aircraft frames

  • Personal protective equipmentAir-conditioned protective clothing for police, first responders, soldiers

    Bullet-proof vests made of Kevlar; the material holds off bullets, but it also impenetrable to water vapor; police personnel who must wear such gear under their uniforms sweat profusely when the weather is warm; researchers develop a “smart,” air-conditioned protective vest, and the smart cooling technology is also suitable for protective suits worn over normal clothing, uniform jackets, camouflage suits

  • Personal protection equipmenDHS to equip border agents with new body armor

    The Customs and Border Protection buys $48,629,750 worth of personal body armor from North Carolina-based KDH Defense systems