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Recently, research in the area of shear thickening fluids (STFs) has increased due to the potential for commercial application. They are considered possible candidate materials for liquid body armour and sporting protective clothing and other applications because of their unique properties. Here the state of the art of shear thickening mechanisms, ingredient materials, fabrication methods, rheological properties, and factors influencing shear thickening behaviour have been reviewed. Basic models used to describe shear thickening behavior are also discussed. Relevant patent applications, particularly in the area of body armour, as well as other industrial applications, such as smart structures, and devices with adaptive stiffness and damping, are also summarized. Recent advances, including the effects of particle surface properties, relationship to carrier fluids and electric or magnetic fields applied on the transition of STFs are included in the review.