Skier's 'Super Suit' Upgraded For Vancouver
The Spyder Olympic GS suit has been completely redesigned in time for the Vancouver Olympics to give athletes the cutting-edge advantage they need. The suit contains 3 innovations that will improve the suit’s aerodynamics and (hopefully!) result in time gains for the Athletes using the suits, including a new kind of d3o™.
d3o is a complex elastomeric compound discovered at the University of Hertfordshire. A shear thickening material, it is flexible when moved slowly, but when it is compresssed by an impact, its molecules lock together. The material stiffens, spreading the impact over a greater area.
Spyder refined the surface texture on the top face knit, reducing the co-efficient of friction against wind. The new slippery surface has less texture than past fabrics, and was tested in wind tunnels to shave off precious hundredths of seconds from racers’ times, a margin by which many ski races are won and lost.
At d3o™, our chemists worked in the lab to create a new formulation of d3o™ to enable the design of a much thinner pad that still performs to the high level needed by the athletes on impact. For those who don’t know, d3o™’s intelligent molecules flow under normal movement, but lock together on impact to spread the force. By reducing the pad volume by 40%, the suit system is more aerodynamic due to its lower profile and a lack of abrupt edges, which can “catch” wind.
Finally, Spyder moved the d3o™ pads from their slalom and GS suits to a separate under layer in order to reduce the amount of thread, seams and needle holes on the outside fabric, all of which can contribute to wind friction.
This d30-based suit is a real-life impact suit like the one described by David Gerrold and Larry Niven in their 1971 novel The Flying Sorcerors:
"It was my impact suit," Purple said. He took a step forward and thumped himself hard in the belly with this fist. His belly was big and soft, so the blow should have made him wince. It did not. I thought for a moment that Purple had become rigid as stone.
"My impact suit," he repeated. "Normally it flows like cloth, but under a sharp blow it becomes a single rigid unit. Lant, you remember that a boy threw a spear at me in your village."
"I remember. You were not hurt."
"The suit is skin tight. With the hood up it covers all of me but my eyes and mouth, and of course it holds my shape. It saved my life."
(Read more about the impact suit)
Take a look at another d3o product - the Flexible-Rigid Beanie-Helmet For Snow Sports.
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(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission of Technovelgy.com)