Ooblick (or ubleck, or any of the other myriad spellings) is not necessarily based on corn starch, though I believe it must be an organic. The point is that its state diagrams lie in such a way that it acts as a non-newtonian fluid. In its normal resting state, it is a gel suspension, which thermodynamically favors the solid suspension state, but overpoweringly kinetically favors the amorphous state. The kinetic energy of the rest state, when driven upwards by something such as being shot or hit by a hammer, will push it over the entropic energy barrier, and drive it to its ordered state. Thusly, the process is approximately...:

  • Initial Impulse
  • Ordered barrier diffuses pressure wave through the mass at the speed of sound in itself
  • Kinetic overpressure overuns tensile strength (being a non-crystalline solid) and the mass shatters
  • Shards are pulled back along the entropic curve and revert to a gel suspension, exothermically

For the purposes of armor (which is what many world military forces are using this for now) it can absorb the impact, and diffuse its kinetic energy as heat. The M1-A1 is a perfect example of this, in being able to withstand the depleted uranium rounds from an A-10 Warthog's main gun, with almost negligable damage, where most other structures would be cut in half.