Could Shock Absorbing Flubber Save The NFL?

Written by Mike Awada on . Posted in Science, Sports, Technology


Credit: NFL

With hard-hitting safety Bernard Pollard predicting the NFL’s demise within decades, and President Obama saying he would never let his daughters play football, the safety and future of America’s favorite pastime is being called into question more than ever.

Players are getting bigger, faster and stronger causing larger and more powerful collisions.

How can we save the NFL from becoming a powderpuff league? A company called Tech21 may have accidentally discovered the answer.

At the 2013 Consumer Electronics show, Tech21 showcased an orange, flubber-like goo that they call Impactology. Impactology was created to protect our most valuable electronic possessions from damage under extreme pressure.

The Impactology goo is composed of a non-Newtonian polymer (exhibiting variable resistance to applied stress) called D30 that has an intelligent molecular structure. What that means is that the molecules in Impactology flow freely until an impact occurs. At that point, they shift states, lock together, absorb the force, and spread the shock evenly and harmlessly. Impactology is not only tough, it’s lightweight and easily manipulatable.

Though the site doesn’t offer many details on how the substance works, they pride themselves on being able to withstand powerful blows and huge drops. Impactology can even protect your hand from being smashed with a hammer:

The company has gotta be doing something right; according to Tech21, the military is already using their goo for impact protection on the battlefield!

Which brings us to the NFL. The gridiron is an intense battlefield in itself. With hits comparable to car crashes, our protection is going to need a major technological overhaul for the NFL to keep it’s edge. Could Impactology be the answer?

The orange goo is currently being dispersed in cases to protect our vital electronics, so could it possibly work to protect vital organs? Would helmets lined with Impactology have a significantly less crash impact than the current foam models?

More research is obviously necessary, but if the patented D30 technology is really all it’s cracked up to be, Impactology could be a force of good for athletes in the NFL and beyond.

Tech21 via Popsci



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Comments (1)

  • Observer


    This would indeed revolutionize impact sports, it would be pretty “handy” to have gloves and even work boots or lifting shoes made of this material as well.


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