This jacket protects from stabbings in style

The use of personal protection is rising. Preventing attacks from knives, either stab or slash attacks is important for those who work in the defense industry.
Interesting Engineering

Apart from learning self-defense techniques, researchers have been looking at the possibilities of wearable protective clothing to prevent injuries in case of being stabbed. 

When one thinks of the proverb of the Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus, "prevention is better than cure," it's much better to prevent knife wounds than actually trying to stop the bleeding. The challenge that researchers in the field encountered was how to stop a knife from penetrating the body, yet appear to be dressed for daily activities at the same time. 

Slash-resistant clothing is the answer for people who would like to keep it discreet. The material, named Cut-Tex Pro, is made from a combination of ultra-high molecular weight and other technical fibers, which are weaved using high-density knitting machines. 

This fabric acts as the first line of defense in stabbing incidents. It prevents the person wearing it from experiencing a significant cut.  

This kind of clothing, when combined with a heavier stab-proof vest, provides near-total protection from attacks using a knife, edged weapons, shanks/spikes, hypodermic needles, and even blunt force. 

These types of vests are made using the process of hybridization. A material called Aramind - aromatic polyamide is of key importance here and offers high strength, low conductivity, and is not flammable. These characteristics arise due to the stiff polymer molecules, which exhibit a strong crystal orientation and the interaction between the polymer chains, courtesy of the hydrogen bonds. 

The process includes layers of Aramide getting infused with Surlyn thermoplastic film, which is then wetted with a dilatant shear-thickening fluid. Several such layers are amalgamated to form armor that exhibits improved stab resistance. 

Researchers are also working on a material that is flexible, and that can also stiffen demand. Scientists at NTU Singapore and Caltech have developed a lightweight 3D-printed "chain mail" fabric from nylon plastic polymers. The fabric features hollow octahedrons that interlock with each other. This material is wrapped in a vacuum-packed hollow plastic envelope, making it a solid structure that is 25 times harder to bend than when it is relaxed. 

Such advanced materials, which can stiffen on demand, can also be put to use in medical applications such as to form exoskeletons to aid in movement and help a patient stand or carry loads. 

Coming back to slash and slab-resistant clothing, it provides the first line of defense to people employed in the emergency, security services or for people under threat.