Bring On the Bullets…New Lightweight Bulletproof Material Outperforms Kevlar

By: | March 5th, 2022

Image courtesy: ACS Nano

Weight is a key consideration of bullet-proof materials; it improves the mobility of wearers while keeping them safe.

The standard bulletproof vests weigh 5 to 6 pounds. Mostly, these vests are made using layers of a fiber named Kevlar. But the layers of Kevlar tend to increase the thickness and weight of the bulletproof jacket.

Now, engineers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison have created a new type of ultralight armor material that outperforms Kevlar.

Called a “nanofiber mat”…it’s better than anything already on the market!

Ramathasan Thevamaran, a UW–Madison assistant professor of engineering physics who led the research said, “Our nanofiber mats exhibit protective properties that far surpass other material systems at a much lighter weight,”

To create the nanofiber mat, engineers mixed tiny cylinders of carbon nanotubes just one atom thick with Kevlar nanofibers. The resulting nanofiber mats have shown the best energy absorption from the impact of small projectiles moving faster than the speed of sound.

Engineers synthesized Kevlar nanofibers by incorporating a small amount of them into their carbon nanotube mats, creating hydrogen bonds between the fibers.

The right mixture of Kevlar nanofibers and carbon nanotubes created a next-gen material by remarkably improving the material’s performance.

Apart from its impact resistance, the new nanofiber material is stable at extreme temperatures. As a result, this material is useful for applications in a wide range of extreme environments.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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