Weaving a Suit of Armor - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 4 Old Oct 5th, 2007, 7:36 pm Thread Starter
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Weaving a Suit of Armor

R&D Magazine Vol. 49, No. 9 (Sept. 2007):

"When selecting protective wear, motorcyclists have to consider trade-offs. A hard helmet protects the head in a crash, but similar armor for the body would get in the way of riding and would be impossibly uncomfortable.

Researchers at Dow Corning Corp., Midland, Mich., have a solution. Soft and breathable in normal use, their innovative Dow Corning Active Protection System textile hardens instantly upon impact, absorbing and distributing energy over the entire protective area. When the impact force is removed, the material returns immediately to its former, flexible state.

Dow Corning’s 3-D spacer textile technology joined with a dilatant silicone coating makes these properties possible. The coating is made of polymers that show transient bonding to a crosslinking component. Under normal conditions, the polymers bond to the crosslinker so the bonds open when subjected to a long-period deformation force, allowing the material to flow. Introduce a sudden force, and the bonds have no time to open, rendering the material rigid. Orientation of the spacer yarns are designed to transmit energy to adjacent yarns, distributing the force.

The Active Protection System exceeds European motorcycle impact standards by 40%. Another advantage: the material is machine washable. Current commercial applications for the Active Protection System include motorcycle protection gear and sports protection wear."

Anyone know of riding gear using this technology ???

- Bob

Cowboy Bob Menton
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post #2 of 4 Old Oct 5th, 2007, 9:17 pm
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Does't Areostitch use this material? I'm not sure if it is machine washable...

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post #3 of 4 Old Oct 5th, 2007, 9:43 pm
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The only one that I am aware of is Rukka.


I think the only model is the SRO Anatomic pants and jacket.

I don't see this model listed at the US distributor and for about $2500 for a suit you better make sure it fits.


Good Luck,

1999 K1200LT, patiently waiting for a new model.
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post #4 of 4 Old Oct 6th, 2007, 6:56 pm
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To add to Kevin's comment: Rukka has available a back protector which can be purchased separately, made of this new material, which meets CE EN1621-2, the important numeral being the last "2" indicating it's passed the back protector test...almost all back protectors we can buy will say "CE Approved" but only meet the 1621-1 standard, which is not applicable to back protection.

The company also has another back protector, made of their patented flexible honeycomb material which allows (lots) of air flow. It's called the Airpower Outlast Back Protector. Don't know if the U. S. distributor carries it. You put it on, like other high end back protectors, rather than having it already in a pocket in the jacket. The main advantage I see is being a lot cooler than others.

I've got a several year old Rukka suit with the flexible armor. All I can report is that it is cooler than solid armor; I haven't had time to test it by hitting the pavement. If the SRO suit mentioned by Kevin becomes available in a mesh for hot weather riding, I'll happily plunk down the $2,500 for it. That's what, 15 seconds in an EMS helicopter?

Armor is an interesting, complex, and controversial subject. While I've been lucky enough to avoid crashing and testing my Rukka stuff, I did crash a track bike at pretty low speed, somersaulting over the handlebars (stupid mistake, long story), wearing a very expensive set of racing leathers. No bone or joint injuries, but more than two years later I'm still sorry I had that suit on. The CE-approved armor had hard edges which dug into the soft tissue above my knee joints, turned both legs completely purple from hip to heel, and even today the areas that got direct hits from the hard edges are tender and sore. I know, could'a been a lot worse, but the point I'm trying to make is "CE Approved" doesn't mean the armor itself won't hurt you as it protects you. That's why I like the Rukka Airpower system, flexible but meets the same standard. No hard edges.
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