I'd like to know if such a material would be, at least, theoretically possible nowadays, if we somehow were to be able to have enough material of whichever one we wished for and the theoretical knowledge to do it.

The suit should be able to, at least partially, reduce the inflicted damage from attacks from blunt objects, physical attacks, bullets shot from a distance where a bulletproof vest would be able to support a bullet with an standard caliber, and so on.

Maybe it would be possible to combine such a suit with something like graphene, that would maybe offer that protection without losing the spandex like aspect.

PD: Yes, this question is inspired by the Power Rangers series.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding.SE mylket. I did a light edit on your question for readability. Feel free to re-edit if you prefer. $\endgroup$
    – Cyn
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 15:46
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    $\begingroup$ Let me see if we can cheat here - a padded suit that looks like skintight one won't qualify? $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 16:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Alexander, no, it would have to look mostly as a Power ranger one, nobody should able to differentiate it from one unless a close inspection is done. $\endgroup$
    – mylket
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 16:28
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    $\begingroup$ Kevlar suit can offer some protection. But it won't be the same level of protection as even a light bulletproof vest can provide. A dilatant material would possibly be able to stop bullets while being thin and "spandex-like", but still it won't be able to prevent blunt-force trauma. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 18:03
  • $\begingroup$ Use the idea of airbags in cars. The suit is close-fitting but when incoming bullets are detected it inflates. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 21:47

5 Answers 5


Spidersilk protein taken from genetically engineered goat's milk. GAH, that doesn't sound real. But it is! It's still in development but has the possibility of skin tight. The demo shows "bullet proof human skin" Like actual human skin mixed with the spider silk. However, there are problems. The skin remains intact, but the human within would be, to quote "soup."

From what I can see, no material with the characteristics you want actually exists. Further, bludgeoning, stabbing and shooting are very different mechanically. This means that stab-proof vests are designed differently than bullet-proof vests, as are things that are meant to protect from blunt hits. When you're trying to protect from all three, it gets bulky as heck, because there have to be layers.

Many are under the impression that a bullet proof vest is suitable for protection against knives and other similar weapons. However, the way a bullet impacts on body armor is very different to the impact of edged and spiked weapons. This is why edged blade proof vests are separate to bullet proof vests, but there is also spike protection to consider. Many use the words stab, spike and edged blade interchangeably, referring to any armor that protects against something other than ballistics. The preferred terms are edged blade and spike, which are different threats respectively. Nevertheless, many will refer to spike protection as stab protection, and vice versa.

Just as ballistic protection will not protect against edged weapons, so too will edged blade protection not protect against spiked weapons. An edged blade, like a knife, cuts through the protective fabric instead of getting trapped within the fibers like a bullet does. While stab proof vests still utilise Kevlar or similar materials like a bullet resistant vest, they also require added materials like chainmail or laminate to stop edged weapons from cutting the protective fibers. SOURCE

Graphene is great, as is spidersilk, but just because you can't break through a material doesn't mean that the kinetic force doesn't harm what's within. And graphene isn't stable enough to create any material large enough to really protect anyone.

So the answer to: is there a way to create a spandex skin-tight suit (no padding or plates at ALL) with all the protections you require-- is sadly no. You're asking for something far beyond the capabilities of science as it currently stands.

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    $\begingroup$ Spider goat, spider goat, makes a bulletproof overcoat.. $\endgroup$
    – Joe Bloggs
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 23:33

Yes, with the qualifier that it only looks like a spandex suit.

The suit would have an outer layer that is basically reinforced pseudo-spandex. Weave some sort damage resistant fiber around highly elastic fiber and surface everything with brightly colored and reflective dye.

The elastic fiber makes it act like spandex, the other fiber gives it damage resistance and the brightly colored dye makes the surface look smoother than it is by hiding shadows caused by unevenness. This is also convenient since it is an excuse to have suits with bright colors. The suits might even come with small LED system to boost the effect.

Under the spandex looking layer would be the actual armor. Structurally it would be plate mail composed of interlocking plates of varying size. Plates would be connected with actual hinges that would let them move fairly freely within the limits needed for normal movement. Small springs would maintain tight fit without compromising flexibility.

With the tight fit and interlocking plates the outer layer should be sufficient to hide the relatively small gaps between the plates. And as long as movements stay within what the armor is designed to handle there would be no visible extra rigidity or looseness. And it is not really not an issue that the suit is more rigid than your body if somebody tries to break your limbs or neck.

There are several alternatives for the materials. Steel or reinforced plastic gives adequate protection for your needs and machining steel or 3D printing the plastic can be done by computer controlled machines which simplifies making the custom fitted plates this type of armor requires.

I'd probably use plates made of two steel plates with rubber in between in manner similar to non-explosive reactive armor. This wouldn't really give resistance to shaped charges or anything but the movement of the outer steel layer would absorb some of the energy without breaking anything and it should be possible to make the joints between plates lock when the outer plate moves spreading the impact to neighbouring plates.

Under this would want some sort of well breathing padding to make wearing the suit bearable and further absorb any impacts.

This should give you a bullet proof armor that looks like spandex suit. It would also make you look really bulky and probably weigh a lot. It wouldn't really impact your movement since the extra weigh would be well balanced and tightly fitted to your body but you probably would not look like somebody who'd be expected to want to show off their body with a spandex suit. It might get embarrassing if people get the idea that you are some sort of a role model because you defy the "thin is beautiful" ideology.

I am only mentioning the looks issue since it is kind of important to the genre. But the amount of thickness obviously corresponds to the amount of armour protection and the plates can be shaped to exaggerate your musculature so it might be fine?

  • $\begingroup$ The OP said in the comments to their question "a padded suit that looks like skintight one won't qualify" but they did ask for a reality check--your build is the only one that current science would support. Everything else is speculation and sci-fi. It seems like it SHOULD be possible but my research indicated that a skin-tight outfit that looks just like spandex without any padding does not exist. +1 from me! $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 17:51

In fact a dilatant-impregnated material would help decrease blunt-force trauma injuries by distributing force across wider area, assuming such blunt force were applied rapidly. It would also protect against rapid stabbing attacks via the same mechanics, however slow stabbing would be unaffected by the dilatant - that's why you'd be looking for a three-ply Kevlar suit: dry Kevlar vertical layer 1; dilatant-impregnated diagonal (45° left) Kevlar layer 2; dry Kevlar horizontal layer 3.

dilatante materials & body armour


Yes I believe its feasible. What I am imagining is a smart fabric. Imagine a fabric that has been engineered to stiffen when its being compressed. For instance, in its normal state, it is loose (on the molecular scale, not in the sense that its loose fitting) but as soon as you apply some type of significant force it compiles itself. Similar to how an Electroactive polymer responds to electricity, you're material could respond to any force, not just an electric pulse but any force exceeding some predetermined threshold. There are many materials already in existence that will change their shape or even their molecular structure when reacting to force, thermostats for instance, change their shape depending on temperature. This technology is actually not as far off as you might think, their are people working on it even now.

  • $\begingroup$ "There are many materials already in existence", Could you perhaps consider expanding upon this, maybe citing a few quotes and giving a few links. Not everyone knows what an electroactive polymer is. Could you perhaps give examples of materials which illustrate your point? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 22:11
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    $\begingroup$ @Agrajag to the most crude extreme, corn starch in water. in its ground state its a thick liquid. Apply force beyond a certain threshold and it becomes a solid(ish). Now, for a material you can wear to do this, I cannot help Rob with that one. $\endgroup$
    – Sonvar
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 22:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Sonvar Dilatant non-Newtonian substances have already been covered in GerardFalla's answer. If you have something new to add, please write an answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 0:22
  • $\begingroup$ Could you perhaps edit your question to include anything you have to add, that would be great. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 1:23

Non-Newtonian fluids

If the suit was graphene based and contained a special non-newtonian fluid, the suit could act like spandex but when hit at high speed, harden to something like plate armour spreading out the force evenly over a larger area.

See liquid armour


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