Asked by: Gabriel Multedo, by email
Stormtroopers’ existing armour is already pretty advanced, incorporating temperature controls and blast energy sinks to absorb the impact of stray blaster bolts. But the Galactic Empire might also wish to consider so-called liquid armour made of Kevlar laced with shear-thickening fluid (STF). In STF, silica nanoparticles are suspended in a liquid polymer. As the Stormtrooper goes about its business, the material remains flexible. But should some shrapnel from, say, a Rebel Alliance thermal detonator grenade hit the suit, the fragment’s kinetic energy forces the silica particles together into a rigid lattice, stopping the shrapnel in its tracks.
Already elite soldiers known for their strength and endurance, the Stormtroopers might also benefit from powered exoskeletons like Lockheed Martin’s HULC (Human Universal Load Carrier) or China’s EEAE military exoskeleton, unveiled in 2014 at a trade show. Hydraulic actuators at the wearer’s joints and along the limbs would boost a Stormtrooper’s running and jumping capabilities. The only problem? Iron Man got there first in a different movie!