Stronger And Ultra-Light Materials For Bulletproof Armor

Stronger And Ultra-Light Materials For Bulletproof Armor

By Shinji Tutoru

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, MASSACHUSETTS, USA; RICE UNIVERSITY, TEXAS, USA ; UNIVERSITY OF BAYREUTH, BAYREUTH, GERMANY & UNIVERSITE DU MAINE, LE MANS, FRANCE . A new type of self-assembling polymer material has recently been developed. It is made by alternating resilient rubber layers with rigid glass layers just like the layers of a cake in order to make it stronger and durable at the same time. Instead of adding bulk, smart layering has been applied to the new kind of body armor. The secret is using different materials with different abilities and then layering them properly. As compared to other impact-resistant shielding material, the new composite material is lighter since it is made of tiny alternating layers which measure only a few nanometers thick.

Tiny microballs were used to shoot the material to test its coping capabilities after impact. The material caved and warped at the point of impact when it was shot edge-on. However, it was more effective at blocking the speed of the microballs by 30 percent when shot head-on. As compared to the size of the nano-layers of the armor, the microballs used were at least a hundred times bigger which made the simulation more realistic and similar in terms of bullet impact.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Rice University have been working on this project. The nanostructures used for this research can be more effective than other popular bulletproof materials such as Kevlar. The mere fact that they were able to measure the actual impacts shows that the project is a very promising one. It is a breakthrough that can be used for more uses in the future in terms of improving the quality of safety body armors in a systematic way.

Invention Self-assembling polymer material
Organization Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts, USA; Rice University, Texas, USA; Université du Maine, Le Mans, France & University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany
Researcher Team of Researchers
Field(s) Nanotechnology, Nanostructure, Bulletproof, Materials Science
Further Information POPSCI

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