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Rate-Responsive, Stretchable Devices

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Patent Identifier: 
20140015176

Rate-dependent, elastically-deformable devices according to various embodiments can be stretched and recovered at low elongation rates. Yet they become stiff and resistive to stretching at high elongation rates. In one embodiment, a rate-dependent, elastically-deformable device includes an elastically-deformable confinement member; one or more filaments placed inside the elastically-deformable confinement member; and a fluid that substantially fills the remaining volume inside the elastically-deformable confinement member. The resistance force to extension of the device is designed to increase as the extension rate of the device increases. At low elongation rates the filaments can readily slide past each other. At high elongation rates, the fluid transforms to a less flowable material that greatly increases the force and energy required for elongation; or transforms to a non-flowable material that resists elongation. The devices thus can be stretched and recovered at low elongation rates, but become extremely stiff and resistive to stretching at high elongation rates.