These are rate-dependent materials, they harden on impact but are pliant when treated gently. Randa applications? Security wallets, hard shell cases, belt buckles, tie bars, footwear toe caps, other? DJK
The super-shock-absorbent material called non-Newtonian polymer inspires a lot of don’t-try-this-at-home stunts, like getting whacked in the head with a shovel through a layer of the stuff.
But these materials are also used in protective clothing for skiers and motorcyclists, and – no surprise here – cases for phones.
A company called Tech21 from Britain has been producing protective cases using the polymer D30 for T-Mobile, but in May it spun off its own line.
These materials, also know generically as “rate-dependent materials,” work by having their molecules freeze in place when struck hard, but are pliant when moved gently — just like water, which is a rate-dependent material of a sort. If you lower yourself into a bath there is little resistance. But slap the water hard with the flat of your hand and it will leave your palm stinging.
Tech21 has put D30 in cases for a variety of phones including those from Apple, HTC, Samsung and RIM as well as some tablets and e-readers.
Most of the cases are like the bumpers you see on iPhones, a protective strip of material that surrounds the outer edges. The D30 shows as an orange stripe on the part of the case where the company says a phone is most likely to take a jolt. An upcoming case will also have a D30 pad in the back.
The phone cases range in price from $30 for the Impact Band to $136 for the underwater Submariner case.
When it comes to product stunts, though, you have to hand it to a company called G-Form, which also uses rate-dependent polymers in its products. It recently had B.A.S.E. jumpersdrop an iPhone from 1,000 feet to demonstrate the effectiveness of its padding.