LEGENDS LIMITED "Great Ape Vegeta" recently made his rampaging debut in the app game "Dragon Ball Legends" with an earth-shatteringly cool LEGENDARY FINISH that sees the mighty Saiyan transform into a Great Ape before pummeling his opponent into dust!
What makes Vegeta's Great Ape transformation all the more impressive is that his battle armor scales up with him! It's often praised as being light and maneuverable in the manga, but just what could Vegeta's iconic battle armor possibly be made from? And is it possible to recreate in the real world? We scoured the land for a material scientist with a worthy Power Level and thrust those outlandish questions and many more upon them!
――Allow me to ask you straight out of the gates: is it possible to make clothing stretchable enough such that it wouldn't rip apart at the seams when its wearer transformed into a Great Ape?
Yes, it's possible.
――Wow, that's amazing! But we're talking about the distant future, right?
Not at all. Material that stretches up to 7-to-8 times its original size without tearing is actually already in use today. When it comes to clothing, there are items like shirts and jackets that are made by woven fabrics, and other items like sweaters, which are knitted. Most would perhaps assume that battle armor-like clothing would be woven, but if you made it with knitting, it's possible to greatly enhance the material's elasticity.
Then, outside of weaving and knitting, it's also fairly possible to create such clothing using material that's similar to film in nature. However, that method has various problems associated with it which first need to be solved.
――I see. You're right in that I hadn't considered knitting as a viable process. As an expert in the field, when you see Vegeta and the others' battle armor, what materials do you imagine were used to make them?
In order to reach an accurate conclusion, let's first try to estimate the elasticity of the material in question.
So let's start with the assumption that when Vegeta transforms into a Great Ape, his height roughly quadruples. His normal height is 163cm, so to get the Great Ape's height, we time that by 4 to get 6.52m. Taking a look at the manga and comparing Vegeta's Great Ape and the objects in the background, that seems like a reasonable figure.
Then, let's combine that with the required elasticities for a selection of stretchable clothing on the market today, which can be seen below.
Elasticity 10–20%:woven fabrics with synthetic polyester, polyurethane yarns
Examples: work overalls, jeans, slacks
Elasticity 20–40%: knitted fabrics with nylon, fabric knit from synthetic polyester yarns
Examples: athletic attire, baseball uniforms
Elasticity 40%+: knitted fabric with polyurethane fibers
So for Vegeta's battle armor, if it didn't have around those levels of elasticity post-Great Ape transformation, he wouldn't be able to fight very effectively.
――I didn't realize that stretchable clothes differed so much in strecheability.
The overall strecheability of clothes is determined by the elasticity of the yarn used as well as the clothing's structure. By structure I'm referring to the way it was woven or knitted. Generally speaking, clothes made from knitted fabric like sweaters have greater elasticity than those made with woven fabric like shirts.
Put simply, woven fabrics are made from a matrix of vertical and horizontal yarn that intersect at right angles, whereas knitted materials are made from a loop of singular yarns that is repeatedly intertwined with itself.
Which is to say that, in order to make highly elastic battle armor, you have to not only use highly elastic fiber, but also form it into the optimal structure.
There's data that shows that by knitting instead of weaving, a given fabric’s strecheability will increase 3-fold horizontally and by 1.5 times vertically. And if the fiber itself is inherently elastic, you can compound the effects.
――So knitting is definitely the way to go!
Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple...
If you knitted Vegeta's clothing, in his pre-Great Ape transformation state, the knit would have to be relatively loose. That would limit its defensive capabilities, making it impractical. So from here on, let's examine weaving in more detail and think about making clothing that best utilizes its fiber's elasticity.
――What type of materials can be used for weaving?
The most elastic material we know of is 'polyurethane', which is a yarn made from fibers of polymeric urethane. If you use polyurethane, it’s pretty easy to create fibers that can stretch to around 10 times its original size and then return to its original shape.
For example, there's 'spandex', which is a rubber-like fiber that's used to make things like stockings and tights. If you make a base from a highly elastic yarn like spandex, you can attain maximal elasticity.
――A rubber-like fiber... That sounds pretty stretchy, but, as battle armor, will it do enough to prevent damage from enemy attacks?
Don't worry. It's possible to coat the cloth of the battle armor to make it stab and bullet-proof.
――There really are so many ways to increase a material's strength and improve its capabilities!
――I think I'm starting to understand Vegeta's battle armor. It must have been made with polyurethane!
I'd say so. Using polyurethane solves all our problems!
...Is what I'd like to say, but there's actually a big problem that's waiting just around the corner.
With the battle armor being composed of a fixed amount of material, the surface area increase that accompanies the transformation into a Great Ape would cause the suit to thin to the point that it turns see-through. So, in order to prevent that, in its base form the battle armor would need to be extremely thick and extremely heavy.
――No way! So transforming into a Great Ape would turn the battle armor see-through?!
Having transparent armor would certainly make it hard to concentrate in battle, so let's take a look at how we might solve the "see-through-battle-armor problem" next time.
Jun Araki (Professor at Faculty of Textile Science and Technology, Shinshu University. Area(s) of Research: Polymer Science and Natural Polysaccharides)
Takeshi Kikutani (Professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology, Former President of the Society of Fiber Science and Technology, Japan. Area(s) of Research: Engineering of Fiber Spinning, Structure and Physical Properties of Fibers)
Wataru Takarada (Assistant Professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology. Area(s) of Research: Polymer Processing)
Go Matsuba (Professor at Yamagata University. Area(s) of Research: Structure and Physical Properties of Polymers)
Hitomi Hamada (Professor at Tokyo Kasei University. Area(s) of Research: Clothing Materials Science)
Masayuki Takatera (Professor at Faculty of Textile Science and Technology, Shinshu University. Area(s) of Research: Textile Engineering, Clothing Engineering)
Hiroyuki Kanai: (Associate Professor at Faculty of Textile Science and Technology, Shinshu University. Area(s) of Research: Kansei Informatics)
Horiba Yosuke (Associate Professorat Faculty of Textile Science and Technology, Shinshu University. Area(s) of Research: Kansei Engineering, Clothing Studies)
LEGENDS LIMITED Vegeta rampages into the fray in the app game "Dragon Ball Legends"!!
Don't miss LEGENDS LIMITED Vegeta's LEGENDARY FINISH, which sees the mighty Saiyan transform into a terrifying Great Ape with an earth-shatteringly cool finisher animation!
Available 9/15/2021 15:00 ～ 10/26/2021 15:00 (JST)
Check here for more details!
©BIRD STUDIO/SHUEISHA, TOEI ANIMATION
©BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc.
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