Unencumbering the Warfighter: Functionalized Materials for Chemical and Biological Protective Clothing

Posted: January 17, 2024

Over the past 20 years, the landscape of threats posed to U.S. forces by chemical and biological (CB) weapons agents has grown in both complexity and scope. While the CB protective overgarments currently issued to Warfighters are routinely improved upon and updated, they remain bulky, are cumbersome to wear, impose a high level of thermal strain on the wearer, and reflect decades-old technology. This state-of-the-art report surveys recent innovations made by government, military, academic, and commercial entities in producing the next generation of CB protective clothing, namely using a class of “functionalized materials” known as metal-organic frameworks. This report particularly outlines a line of innovation that has resulted in the testing of a CB protective ensemble that can be worn as a standard duty uniform, not a bulky overgarment, helping to unencumber the Warfighter from the added thermal strain and weight burden.

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