Per Vivo Labs and UT PTAC

Founded in 2012, Per Vivo Labs, Inc. seeks to solve complex problems with simple solutions.  In 2015, the company engaged the U.S Army Research Lab, Aberdeen Proving Ground regarding a product patent developed in their Lab.  The patent pertains to “rate activated tethers”.  The tethers outer layer is an elastomer tube and the tube is filled with a shear thickening fluid. 

The tethers have unique physical properties.  Extended at a slow rate of speed the tethers behave as in a manner consistent with the properties of the elastomer tubing.  However, as the speed of extension is increased the tethers resistance increases dramatically. In short, the tethers resistive properties are dictated by speed.  This action is caused by the sheer thickening fluid transitioning from a liquid state to a sloid state as the tether is extended.

The manufacture and testing of the tethers is complex and current machinery and equipment is not suitable for production at scale.  As new applications emerge from licensed commercial partners and the Department of Defense in is imperative the production constraints are addressed.  

As part of this project, the Tennessee Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) is involved in assisting Per Vivo Labs resolve research and development challenges. In addition, Tennessee PTAC will be providing technical support and guidance in the development of a Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program contract with the Department of Defense (DOD). Tennessee PTAC assist small business with submitting SBIR contracts to DOD as part of its SBIR technical assistance program.

Each year, Federal agencies spend more than $3.5 billion of their research and development budgets in the SBIR and STTR Programs. The mission of these programs is to stimulate technological innovation among small and start-up businesses leading to creation of new products & services. DOD has the largest SBIR & STTR budgets among the participating agencies.

The Tennessee PTAC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement between The University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services and the DOD Defense Logistics Agency. For more information about Tennessee PTAC SBIR programs contact Russell Toone at or go to


Tags Government Contracting