McLaren introduces shield body armour to protect human organs with F1 car technology

McLaren's body shield borrows F1 technology including Zylon fibres, used by all F1 teams on their cars for protection against side penetration.

By: | Updated: September 28, 2017 11:24 AM
McLaren Project Invincible, the latest personalised healthcare solution made from materials that will be used in next season’s Formula 1 car.

Formula 1 technology has just not been helpful in developing automotive components but has is now also helping to design personalised health care solutions. McLaren Applied Technologies has developed an Invincible shield  in response to a challenge from a single client to design a device to help protect vital organs after surgery. Like other premium automakers, McLaren group has many divisions and they share knowledge within the group. McLaren Applied Technologies collaborated with companies across the Group, including McLaren Racing in the manufacturing process of the Invincible shield. “Applied Technologies has a pedigree of applying insight and technology developed from decades of elite motorsport competition, and Project Invincible is no different. The Invincible shield is made from materials that will be in next year’s Formula 1 car.” said Dr Adam Hill, Chief Medical Officer, McLaren.

The fully wearable composite shield does the job of the rib cage – protecting vital organs including the heart and the lungs, with the garment providing further protection from unexpected low energy impact.

Also see: How the McLaren's Invincible shield was made in the video below


The multi-material shield features high-failure strain Dyneema fibres (as used in body armour) for damage containment, and a highly-toughened resin system with woven fabrics for impact resistance. McLaren's shield borrows F1 technology including Zylon fibres, used by all F1 teams on their cars for protection against side penetration. If that wasn’t enough, stiff carbon fibres ensure flexural rigidity and load carrying capability.

McLaren's team that designed the shield comprised, among others mechanical engineers, industrial designers, and composites specialists. The project team began to evolve a final design that comprised of a composite chest-shield, perfectly moulded to the client’s body, engineered to protect from initial impact and efficiently transfer loads to three safer regions of the body. At these locations, a unique gel material interfaced with the body which was designed to attenuate the load and protect weak ribs and the vital organs. From this, the design teams were able to define a finished product.

Having undertaken computer-simulated load-tests, and armed with a thorough understanding of all the underlying structures, they tested the prototypes in the same labs used by McLaren’s Formula 1 team for its monocoque crash-tests

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