Smart Chain Mail Fabric Batman
NTU Singapore and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) researchers have made an innovative new ‘chain mail’ fabric can be flexed just like cloth, but stiffen on demand when required. This lightweight fabric is entirely 3D-printed from nylon plastic polymers and consists of hollow, interlocking octahedrons (eight equal triangular faces). When this material is encased in a plastic envelope and vacuum-packed, it becomes 25-times more rigid and can hold more than 50 times its own weight. Read more for a video and additional information.

Just like Batman’s cape, which is normally flexible, it can become rigid to stop bullets or act as a glider when the superhero needs to hop off a building. This opens the door to lightweight body armor that can harden to protect a user against an impact, protective athletic gear, and exoskeletons for the mobility impaired.

LEGO DC Batman 1989 Batwing 76161 Displayable Model with a Buildable Vehicle and Collectible Figures: Batman, The Joker – Mime Version and Lawrence The Boombox Goon, New 2021 (2,363 Pieces)
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Moving forward, the team is looking to improve the material and fabric performance of their chain mail and to explore more methods of stiffening it, such as through magnetism, electricity or temperature,” said NTU Singapore.