Bulletproof chainmail? Next-gen fabric stiffens on demand

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Chainmail may be making a comeback as part of a next-gen material that could be used for human exoskeletons. The material, made by scientists from Singapore and the US, is composed of interlocking octahedron-shaped particles (first made of nylon, and then aluminium) that’s pliable but also capable of becoming rigid and load-bearing. How does that happen? When the material is enveloped in a plastic case and vacuum-sealed, it stiffens up, similar to a sealed bag of rice.
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