Exoskeleton Blast Protection for IED
Navy SBIR FY2005.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2005.2
Topic No.: N05-137
Topic Title: Exoskeleton Blast Protection for IED
Proposal No.: N052-137-0442
Firm: Warwick Mills
301 Turnpike Road, PO Box 409
New Ipswich, New Hampshire 03071-0409
Contact: Charlie Howland
Phone: (603) 878-1565
Web Site: www.warwickmills.com
Abstract: Warwick's expertise with high-performance, protective textiles has led to the development of innovative solutions, including new body armor systems for multiple threats and the protective crash bag material used to land NASA's Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers. We propose to create a lightweight, flexible, multi-layered system that will effectively mitigate the powerful forces of tension and compression that can cause traumatic limb separation caused by IED blast. Most existing body armor systems use a hard plate to protect against ballistic threats to the torso, and some also contain a softer fabric system to provide protection from fragmentation, but there is nothing available to today's warfighters that addresses issues of limb separation. This lack of protection leaves the wearer's extremities vulnerable to severe, often fatal, injuries caused by blast overpressure. Our research efforts will seek to achieve an optimal material combination that can absorb and dissipate energy from overpressure and can also withstand fragmentation of 0.100-1.2g. Proper selection of materials is vital, as each component will provide a critical level of protection. Furthermore, materials chosen must also be pliable enough so that end products meet dexterity, agility, and flexibility needs, especially when worn in combination with traditional hard-round ballistic body armor.
Benefits: Potential commercial applications for the flexible, compression and tension resistant materials for overpressure blast include Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for export as well as local, state, and federal emergency personnel such as police officers, firefighters, Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) personnel, and emergency aid workers. These materials could also be essential to safe bomb disposal. Protective equipment could also be used in hazardous occupation fields including, but not limited to, mining, construction, demolition, high-pressure water jetting, and commercial blasting.