Video: BAE showcases liquid body armor

Body armor currently worn by police officers and military personnel tends to be made from Kevlar in multiple layers, with integrated metal or ceramic plates for additional protection.

The problem? Body armor is often quite heavy, with some military versions weighing in at a rather hefty 25 pounds.

As such, BAE Systems is developing a new type of body armor that uses a special liquid known as “Shear Thickening” in addition to the Kevlar layers. By adding the special liquid, the number of Kevlar layers can be reduced, making the body armor significantly thinner, more flexible and lighter weight. The special liquid is also loaded with suspended particles that collide when the fluid is disturbed – creating an effective layer of resistance to a knife or bullet.

According to BAE, when combined with Kevlar layers, the liquid body armor is approximately 45% thinner than its conventional counterpart. As an added bonus, the resistive properties of the liquid also allows the force of a bullet impact to be spread out over a wider area. While conventional body armor is capable of stopping a bullet, soldiers often sustain significant injuries from the force of the impact. Being able to spread the force of impact over a wider area means fewer broken bones and reduced chance of internal damage.