STTR Phase I: Surgical Glove with Shear Thickening Fluid Textile Composites for Protection Against Needlestick Injuries

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

STF Technologies LLC
58 Darien Rd
Newark, DE 19711
Principal Investigator, Firm POC

Research Institution

University of Delaware
210 Hullihen Hall
Newark, DE 19716


This Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) Phase I project will demonstrate the technical and commercial feasibility of a puncture resistant surgical glove having areas reinforced by flexible, needle resistant nanocomposite materials made from knit textiles intercalated with shear thickening fluids (STF). STF treated textiles are a class of smart material that respond differently based on the applied stress and have proven applications in stab-resistant soft body-armor. This STTR Phase I research will advance the knowledge and understanding of flexible composite materials for needle-resistant protective equipment. Current puncture resistant materials are made from hard ceramics or stiff, woven fabrics. The novelty of this research is the use of knit substrates, which impart important flexibility as would be required for use in glove for medical professionals and others requiring significant dexterity and tactile sensation. The proposed research will further elucidate the mechanisms that lead to the unique material characteristics of nanocomposites based on shear thickening fluids. The optimization of the STF textile puncture resistant glove materials and glove design in this project will yield a cost-effective glove that offers protection against accidental needlestick injury together with the fit, feel and comfort demanded by medical professionals. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is to fill a significant, unmet need for needlestick protective gloves in the billion dollar surgical glove market. There is no PPE option currently available to surgeons and nurses that protects against needlestick injury. Annually, 100-200 of these medical professionals die from infections resulting from needlestick injury. The device envisioned in this proposal will directly mitigate some of the 350,000 needlestick injuries sustained by medical professionals each year in the U.S. Prevention of these injuries has significant benefit for medical professionals as well as potential cost savings to our health care system. In addition, there are substantial benefits to patients with associated cost savings, by preventing incidental patient infection through needlestick injuries to surgeons and operating room nurses. The flexible, puncture resistant composites developed by this research will also serve as an enabling technology for advanced personal protective equipment with much broader applicability. Puncture-resistant gloves that are lightweight, flexible, and cost-effective are of great interest in markets such as law enforcement, waste handling, bioresearch, construction and industrial work.