Rheomesh

Rheomesh.
”Reehomesh” is the generic name given to a wide range of pseudo-armour fabrics that can be turned into what appear to be normal clothes or used to make an all-over body suit. The name is derived from Rheopexy which is the hardening of a liquid, via increased viscosity, when under sudden shearing forces.

Its most basic form consists of a layer of non-Newtonian liquids sandwiched between a liquid-proof fabric – when the layer is impacted by a sudden force the liquid mixture hardens instantaneously spreading the kinetic force outwards from the point of impact and covering a much larger area – thereby reducing the point-impact of the kinetic force e.g. a bullet. By producing the material in ultra-fine layers so that any impact produces a shear force on some part of it, then the material becomes an excellent low-tech, power independent form of light body armour.

It is, however, not regarded as a true armour in its own right and is worn for many non-military purposes where protection from sudden-knocks is needed, this can be from working in the construction industry through to toddler-suits to help protect children from playground injuries.

The great advantage of Rheomesh is that when the force is no longer applied then the liquid returns to its fully liquid state – imagine falling down onto your elbow; the suit would instantly harden spreading the impact force into the adjacent material thereby cushioning the fall of the wearer. As soon as that force is no longer applied the suit material will relax allowing the wearer to get up unhindered.

In the military an “undersuit” is a body-covering suit or Rheomesh that has armour plating strapped over it in military usage. This helps spread any kinetic impact even more after the armour has taken the initial blow. It also hardens the wearer against casual damage such as falling and even hand-to-hand combat, although there is a negative in that area of use whereby the suit can be used to work against the wearer.

As it can be somewhat disguised as normal clothing such material is also highly popular amongst civilians who want some protection from kinetic shock, either as part of their working environment or for security reasons. If bulky armour cannot be worn than clothes made form Rheomesh are almost de-rigeur. As it does need to have a certain thickness for any degree of protection though it cannot resemble flimsy fabrics, the thicker it can be generally the better. What can be done though is to wear it under normal clothing almost imperceptibly, the only drawback being the issue of the body needing to dump the heat generated within the suit by the body itself – as such suits usually have an integrated coolant system that does require power – in the military this is usually provided from a small backpack, in civilian situations it is often too difficult to hide such equipment, so wearing rheomesh undersuits is usually restricted to short periods of time and/or colder climates.