d3o lab have received 2 Government Smart awards for the development of a high technology application, this funding is now paying off in the form of developments that will benefit athletes performing in both the Olympics and the World Cup. Goalkeeping apparel specialists, Sells and d3o lab have been working together to develop a new application of the technology for football. The product and materials lab at d3o have been working closely with the experts at Sells to formulate a solution that will give footballers a benefit that has never been seen before.
d3o Mesh is a perforated textured sheet which has been specifically designed for comfort and breathability in applications requiring good flexure and medium levels of impact protection. The material achieves these exceptional properties because of the way the material works on a molecular level. The molecules are free flowing under normal circumstances as they have time to move over each other, allowing the material to be characteristically soft, flexible, and malleable. However upon impact, the molecules form temporary cross links with each other, transforming the material into a stiff state, in addition to absorbing the energy from the impact. As soon as the impact is over however, the molecules unlink, returning them to their original free flowing state. Recent tests looking at the impact protection the application of d3o mesh offers in comparison to other similar products illustrates this process.
The tests use the example of d3o mesh used in shin guards in order to demonstrate the capabilities of the material. In order to adequately assess the mesh, the maximum transmitted force, and pressure signatures were recorded using a pendulum impact rig based on the EN 1621 impact test, at an impact energy of 20 joules. Pressure film was positioned under the damping material and this enabled an accurate recording of the pressure to occur. In order to capture as much possible information for each impact, three sensitivity films were stacked up; medium (1400 – 7000 psi), low (350 – 1400 psi), and superlow (70 – 350 psi). The pads were then impacted at three different locations, and the results were averaged. To obtain a measure of protection, the impact energy (J) was divided by the transmitted force (kN), and these results showed a substantial difference in the transmitted force for the three shin pads under analysis:
- Shinguard A - 0.7 protection (J/kN)
- Shinguard B – 1.6 protection (J/kN)
- Sells d3o pro pad – 2.5 protection (J/kN)
Results show that the Sells Propad with d3o reduces transmitted force by 70% compared to similar applications without that material. Pressure results show a less intense imprint for the d3o pro pad, and this can be regarded as an indication of lower localised pressures that might cause bruising.
With the current available shock absorbing systems for football, the shock absorption is poor by comparison to d3o. This new technology is indispensable in instances such as goalkeepers’ performing a defensive punch of the ball into the air. The introduction of d3o signifies a new era in the production of protective apparel, with the material being able to offer superior shock absorption, as well as being soft enough not to hinder flexibility. The material is set to revolutionise outdoor and extreme sports.