BOULDER, Colo., Nov. 29 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists have created a rubber material tailored with liquid crystals to offer protection from various chemicals, including chemical weapons.
The scientists say the suits are designed to offer protection from toxic vapors and aerosols, as well as providing protection in the event of a chemical-weapons attack.
Researchers say the new composite is lightweight and breathable, reducing the risk of heat exhaustion in anyone wearing it.
Douglas Gin of the University of Colorado, Brian Elliott at TDA Research Inc. in Wheat Ridge, Colo., and colleagues said they are now refining the material to make it thinner, but just as effective. They also are testing its effectiveness at keeping out phosphorus ester-based chemical-warfare agents.
"It may be possible to use these nanoporous liquid crystal-polymer materials for performing molecular-level separations of liquid mixtures, or even removing toxic molecules and dissolved salts from contaminated water or seawater," the scientists said.
The research is discussed in the journal Advanced Materials.