Bubble wrap is such a cool material. It would be even better if it combined increased durability with improved energy dissipation.
Today’s invention is a new form of impact-absorbing sheet, with integral springs and dampers, which might be used on everything from car bumpers to boxing gloves.
Imagine taking a sheet of conventional bubble wrap and coating it on both sides with a layer of high modulus (springy) rubber. Each bubble would then be pierced using a needle.
The thickness of the coating determines the amount of springback which each bubble will now provide when impacted. The number of piercings in each determines the amount of dissipation which occurs on impact (Air is forced out under pressure so that the impact is transformed into low-grade thermal energy. The springiness of each bubble then allows its shape to be recovered, drawing air gradually back inside, ready for the next collision).