Lightweight Foam Stops Bullets As Effectively As Steel

By: | June 17th, 2019

Image courtesy NCSU

Making the vehicle bulletproof is a very difficult job as thick armor plating makes it so bulky that it becomes very difficult to move it.

Now, in a big breakthrough scientists have developed Foam body armor, which is strong enough to withstand the impact of bullets.

Scientists have demonstrated that Composite metal foam (CMF) a new type of metal foam can withstand the incredible impact of .50 caliber rounds (type of bullets fired by heavy machine guns and sniper rifles).

CMF is a new ultra-light, high strength material, consisting of hollow metallic spheres, surrounded by metallic matrix that can be made of steel, titanium, aluminum or other metallic alloys.

Moreover this material is not only efficient but also light in weight; therefore it could be used to create new types of lightweight body armor and protection for vehicles.

Engineer and materials scientist Afsaneh Rabiei from North Carolina State University (NCSU), said, “The CMF armor was less than half the weight of the rolled homogeneous steel armor needed to achieve the same level of protection,”

“In other words, we were able to achieve significant weight savings – which benefits vehicle performance and fuel efficiency – without sacrificing protection.”

For testing its ability, researchers manufactured a hard armor system consisting of a ceramic faceplate, a CMF core and a thin back plate made of aluminum. Their experiments consisted of firing .50 caliber ball and armor-piercing rounds, at speeds from 500 meters per second to 885 meters per second. The results showed that the CMF layer of the armor was able to absorb 68-78% of their kinetic energy.

Nidhi Goyal

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

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