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January 17, 2008

Open Thread

I actually am blogging but I'm finding stuff that all seems sidebar-ish.

This article about body armor is pretty interesting. It soberly notes the trade-offs and limitations implicit in current armor systems, before having some fun with this gee-whiz next-gen possibility:

The Army is aware of the problem and is now polling industry to set new requirements for weight, flexibility and multi-hit capability. In the long term, the Army is pursuing the idea of "liquid armor"--a magnetio-ferrous substance that is normally liquid (and thus flows freely within the body armor vest) but which becomes rigid when subjected to the force of a bullet impact. The concept has been demonstrated in the lab, but is still about a decade from full-scale testing and evaluation.

This seems more likely in the short term, but the Army apparently resists the idea:

There are alternative technologies available now, which promise to deliver better performance, flexibility, and reduced weight. Many of these are based on the use of ceramic cylinders embedded in polymer resin over a SpectraShield backer. In contrast to plates, each cylinder is mechanically discrete, so a hit that destroys one in the process of stopping the bullet doesn't affect its neighbors. I have personally tested such an insert, putting ten high-power, armor-piercing rounds into it without any loss of integrity or debonding. Because the cylinders are crush-resistant, they are extremely rugged, and can be dropped, or even pounded with a hammer or an axe (something else I have done) without any breakage. Finally, because the resin in which the cylinders are embedded can be flexible, the entire plate can bend with the movements of the user, making the entire ensemble more comfortable.

digg this
posted by Ace at 02:41 PM

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