What is D3O®? Unparalleled Protection That Even Soldiers Use

The orange goo dubbed “D3O” has taken the sports, military, and electronics industries by storm the last several years. But what is it? How does it work? Let’s dive into this bizarre and impressive substance.

What is D3O® Gel Made Of?

The science behind this material is incredible. But that also means there are a lot of scientific terms, so bear with us as we work through the triggering memories of our high school chemistry class:

D3O® is a shear-thickening, non-Newtonian colloid.

We warned you, didn’t we? Let’s unpack that:

Shear-thickening: These types of fluids become more viscous when under stress.

Non-Newtonian: Fluids that are affected by factors other than temperature (such as impact).

Colloid: A mixture in which one dispersed, insoluble substance is suspended throughout another dispersing medium.

  • D3O® is made of a large molecular substance (also called a polymer) that suspends in an oily, liquid lubricant, classifying as a colloid.

Credit: Interesting Engineering
D3O: The Live-Saving Protective Goo

How Does D3O® Technology Work?

These shear-thickening, non-Newtonian components are important to the performance of D3O because agitation and pressure (known as shear stress) affect the viscosity, or thickness, of non-Newtonian fluids in a way that makes it stronger:illustration of how D3O technology responds to force

When quick stress is applied to a shear-thickening fluid, polymer chains become entangled and confused, without enough time to rearrange. This creates a solid-like consistency as viscosity tremendously increases. Impact only makes it stronger.

Unsurprisingly, D3O technology is patented and proprietary.

What Makes D3O® Special?

The concept of an essentially self-strengthening, non-Newtonian polymer sounds great. But it has to be tested, and re-tested, and re-tested again.

D3O runs a crazy range of tests– from impact and abrasion resistance, to comfort and dexterity.

D3O prides themselves on the premium innovation their brand brings to impact protection & shock absorption, and holds the trust of athletes, technophiles, and soldiers alike.

Plus, D3O material surpasses definitive requirements in six testing areas specific to durability and manufacturing:

  • Abrasion resistance
  • Dye transfer
  • Material recovery
  • Hardness
  • Stickiness
  • Processing capability

D3O® Materials

D3O’s extensive portfolio includes various material formulations, each fine-tuned to achieve particular properties fit for different applications, such as temperature stability, and flexibility.

D3O® Impact Print™ (iP)

Extreme design freedom means protection + muscle support in one single protective garment.

D3O® Impact Additive

Existing thermoplastic rubber techniques + D3O’s advanced polymer chemistry = Unrivaled impact protection with comfort and dexterity.

D3O® Zero™

Created with recycled surplus D3O impact material.

D3O® Bio

A plant-based D3O material that’s planet-friendly, with no compromise to ultimate protection. A ZAGG favorite, with appearances in our Gear4 & InvisibleShield products.

The D3O brand doesn’t sacrifice environmental protection for phone protection, or vice versa, because it’s unnecessary.

The Problem

In 2021, there were an estimated 6.4 billion smartphone users, with an additional 1.1 billion more users projected for 2023.

With a lot of users, comes a lot of consumption. The average user changes their phone every 20-27 months. High consumption = high single-use plastic.

Because the state of the planet and its resources are in dire need of attention and care, many companies are developing “green” or “eco-friendly” products. While these drastic changes are needed, the intentions behind these marketing efforts sometimes end up hollow.

D3O®’s report titled Decrypting Eco-Materials in Electronics Protection explains the issue of “greenwashing”, where companies attempt to validate their eco-friendly products with muted earth tones and phrases like “all natural”, even though their sustainability efforts are not to par.

While this certainly isn’t the case for all brands, those who do meet true sustainability efforts can end up with a product that doesn’t do what a phone case or screen protector are meant to do in the first place — protect. This is where D3O® found an opportunity to come back to the roots of protection, and D3O® Bio was born.

The Journey

Placing protection within the context of sustainability, D3O® investigated a wide range of potential raw materials and sought to identify claims that:

1. Could be substantiated and

2. Would make a difference to safeguarding the planet (without sacrificing device protection)

After extensive consumer and material research, a “bio-based” solution spoke familiarly to consumers, while staying true to D3O®’s sustainability initiatives:

  • Ability to be manufactured from renewable resources, such as sugar cane, unlike conventional polymers which are made from fossil resources
  • Lowers carbon emissions, water consumption and waste
  • Material waste from case production form can be directly recycled back into it, avoiding post-industrial waste
  • Offers the same technical properties and product protection as D3O’s traditional materials

The Solution

By incorporating renewable resources into their technology, D3O was able to achieve a 52% bio-based product — a significant leap forward compared to anything like it on the market today.

Plus, bio-based materials are backed by internationally accepted ISO standards, which provide certainty about the material composition & antibacterial activity on certain surfaces:

  • ISO 16620-4:2016 specifies a method of determining the bio-based mass content in plastics products, based on radiocarbon analysis and elemental analysis.
  • ISO 22196-2011 measures antibacterial activity on plastics and other non-porous surfaces. D3O Bio kills 99.9 percent of common surface bacteria.

D3O blended sustainability with impact protection and made it powerful. Consumers are now empowered with a product that protects their device, themselves, and the environment that’s:

  • Manufactured from a bio-based D3O material
  • Made from renewable resources
  • 99.9 percent antibacterial
  • On-brand with D3O’s unmatched level of trusted protection

Nothing Protects Better Than D3O®

D3O®’s optically clear design is integrated as the final layer of GlassFussion screen Portection. These layers make the strongest, thinnest, and most advanced screen protection on the market, offering extreme impact protection of up to 16 feet.

Credit: D30Lab

D30® Crystalex™

What Are Uses of D3O®?

D3O values enabling and empowering people to live life unleashed and challenging their limits, while staying safe and protected. From living the experience to documenting the moments, D3O materials ensure unparalleled 360° protection.

Sports

D3O® has transformed the market with head to toe sports protection, for any adventure under the sun (and snow):

Mountain Biking

D3O® impact protection materials are soft, flexible, and breathable, earning the trust of elite mountain bikers and everyday enthusiasts alike.

CCM Tacks 710 Hockey Helmet
Photo Credit: PuckStop
CCM Tacks 710 Hockey Helmet

Ice Hockey

From the NHL and youth Rec League games, D3O technology gives players the protection they need, without sacrificing comfort, flexibility, or mobility.

Football

With continuous concerns over concussions and general bodily safety, D3O offers unrivaled head protection to football players from D1 College programs, to youth flag football teams.

Snow Sports

Whether you shred on skis or a snowboard, D3O head-to-toe impact solutions keep you safe on the mountain. D3O technology has been used to protect athletes at the Winter Olympics, the X-Games and Freeride World Tour.

Motorcycling

Icon D3O Vest
Photo Credit: RevZilla
Icon D3O Vest

D3O® is the first choice for motorcycle body armour and protective gear that supplies superior impact protection, with all the comfort and flexibility.

CE Level 1 and Level 2 certified, D3O products are trusted and worn by MotoGP motorcyclists, to off-road and street buffs.

Sports Motorcycles

D3O’s supreme safety and ergonomic motorcycle products are worn by the world’s fastest riders, including Michael Dunlop and Katsuyuki Nakasuga, and have been worn in international races including MotoGP, the Isle of Man TT and the Suzuka 8-hour.

Urban Motorcycles

D3O® delivers the thinnest and most flexible impact protection on the market for urban motorcycle gear and apparel, without the bulk.

Adventure and Touring

CE Level 2 certified, D3O provides a vast range of safe and comfortable motorcycle armour for adventure and touring. Weather won’t get in the way of a good time.

Industrial

D3O® personal protective equipment is trusted by construction, oil, and gas workers, offering an unsurpassed range of impact-resistant materials that are tough and durable.

person working while wearing D3O hand protection
Photo credit: HecltoTrmel2020
An example of D3O hand protection

D3O® gloves match every performance level of the ANSI/ISEA 138 standard, offering a more comfortable and dexterous glove with unmatched levels of protection.

Military

D3O® materials are tested and trusted by elite forces worldwide in the harshest environments, protecting from blunt force trauma injuries, and reducing fatigue and risk of injury.

Electronics

In a tech-centric world, protection for our devices is akin to insurance for our bodies. D3O® technologies deliver unparalleled 360° impact protection for phones, gaming devices, and other electronic devices.

From D3O® Bio in Gear4 cases, to D3O® Impact Additives in InvisibleShield screen protection, D3O helps you protect better.

Conclusion

In a nutshell: D3O is monumental. We’ll let them speak for themselves:

“From lightweight aerodynamic protection for skiers and motorcyclists, precision safety equipment for oil rig workers, to everyday magic that keeps smartphones in one piece”, D3O’s state of the art test lab and technologies have us covered to live a life unleashed.

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About Author
Amy Balbo

Amy Balbo is the Content Strategist and Analytics Marketer for Retail Channel Partners, a partner to ZAGG Franchise. Amy's love for language and learning prompted her to study abroad and teach English to kids in China for 10 exhilarating months. Her passion for creating meaningful, data-driven content allured her to co-found a women's supplement company, Wynk, where she was a key player in building company roots. When she's not burying her nose in tabs upon tabs of research articles, she's breathing through her workouts or snuggling with her cat and binge-watching her latest Netflix obsession. You can find her on LinkedIn.