Kaolin shear thickening fluid reinforced UHMWPE composites for protective clothing
This study reports the designing and reinforcing of impact resistant textile composites using kaolin based shear thickening colloidal dispersions as the filler material. The reinforced fabric is targeted for the chest protection of cricketers. A shear thickening fluid (STF) has been prepared using kaolin and glycerol, at kaolin volume fractions of 34% and 38%. A combination of mixing techniques including mechanical blending and ultra-sonication are used to prepare the colloidal dispersions. Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) woven fabric structures are reinforced with the STF. The fabric coated with STF are then measured for their flexibility, and impact resistance using Shirley stiffness tester and a series of modified drop tower tests respectively. Kaolin STF at 38% volume fraction shows best results in impregnated fabric samples. STF reinforced fabrics provide better impact resistance with improved moisture absorption and flexibility in comparison to the conventional chest guard material.
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