Auxetic Materials: The Perfect Choice for Personal Protective Equipment?

Auxetic materials’ enhanced properties such as conformability, superior energy absorption and reduced thickness make it a quality material for personal protective equipment, according to current research. Whereas, commercially available protective materials tend to obstruct movement, breathability and wicking and molded pads are extremely prone to saddling.

Auxetics are structures or materials that have a negative Poisson’s ratio, which become thicker perpendicular when stretched to the applied force. The happens because of their internal structure and the way it deforms when the material or structure is uniaxially loaded.

Auxetics can be single molecules, crystals or a particular structure of macroscopic matter. These types of materials and structures should normally have high energy absorption, fracture resistance qualities and other mechanical properties.

Typically, auxetic materials have low density, allowing the hinge-like areas of the auxetic microstructures to flex and are most commonly used to make body armor, packing material, knee and elbow pads, robust shock absorb

ing material and sponge mops.Foam is normally used in personal protective equipment for sports apparel. It’s positioned to be used on parts of the body which is frequently exposed to injury of the soft tissue through collision, falls or hard impact.

Currently, the impact resistance of auxetic open cell polyurethane foam and some additively manufactured auxetic structures have been established. The processes needed for manufacturing curved auxetic materials and other molding methods have also been developed.

Even though these developments have occured, auxetic materials have still not been used for personal protective sporting apparel. Recent papers are now releasing strong arguments in favour of investigating auxetic material and its potential to be used for enhanced wearer functionality through properties of synclastic curvature and biaxial expansion.