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New ‘Second Skin’ Military Uniform Would Guard Against Chemical Attack

A piece of the fabric that repels chemical and biological agents.
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Above: A piece of the fabric that repels chemical and biological agents.

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California is working to develop a new, highly breathable material to be used for military uniforms that would protect the wearer against biological and chemical agents.

The new material would be made of tiny carbon nanotubes that could adapt to the environment.

Francesco Fornasiero, a scientist on the project, explains:

"The uniform will be like a smart second skin that responds to the environment. Without the need of an external control system, the fabric will be able to switch reversibly from a highly breathable state to a protective one in response to the presence of the environmental threat. In the protective state, the uniform will block the chemical threat while maintaining a good breathability level."

Folks at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory estimate the new material could be used in military uniforms in less than ten years.

The project is funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

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