Using plastic or rubber or something similar and transparent be inflated with each layer having a increasing pressure lessening the strain on the containing material? When one or two layers fails the other layers have enough redundancy to hold. This could make suits more flexible using a more flexible material. A balloon in a balloon an a balloon with the most inner balloon with the highest pressure. Would a suit built this way buffer the effects of explosive decompression on the astronaut better than a single layer suit?

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    $\begingroup$ yes, but what happens if a layer fails? $\endgroup$
    – user20636
    Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 22:56
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    $\begingroup$ But if one uses combined thickness of all sheets in one sheet, it should add the strength and still provide the protection. $\endgroup$
    – zephyr0110
    Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 8:21
  • $\begingroup$ The layers of balloons offer no good redundancy. A segmentation of the space between two layers is missing. Something similar to a honeycomb structure. The gas between layers is only dead weight. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 13:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Uwe maybe but it can contain radiation absorbing gases between the layers. $\endgroup$
    – Muze
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 22:06

1 Answer 1


Explosive decompression is a rare occurrence. Optimizing your space suit for that is not the best strategy.

Thin layers are easier to puncture than thick layers of the same material. So the number of punctures goes up (even if only the outer layers of the suit will be punctured), increasing maintenance cost.

You have to build in some redundancy: if the outer layer is punctured, the second layer has to withstand 7 psi difference now. If a puncture reaches the third layer, the remaining inner layer has to withstand the full 14 psi. So the total thickness will get much bigger than that of a single-layer suit.

The one advantage I can see is that the suit may be more flexible when it's made up of thin layers. But current space suits are stiff mainly because of the air pressure, not because the fabric itself is inflexible. For this reason, space suits (for EVA) use much lower pressures than 1 bar.


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