Metal Foam Armor Disintegrates Bullets

Plating less than an inch thick obliterates armor-piercing projectiles. Continue reading →

Bad news for bullets this week: Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a super strong armor material that literally turns bullets to dust upon impact.

In a rather dramatic video recently posted online, an armor-piercing bullet is shown essentially disintegrating as it impacts the armor. Check it out:

click to play video

The armor plating shown in the video is made in part from composite metal foams, or CMFs, which are both lighter and stronger than traditional metal plating used in body and vehicle armor.

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Afsaneh Rabiei, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at N.C. State, has spent several years developing CMFs and investigating their unique properties.

The bullet used in the demonstration video is a 7.62 x 63 millimeter M2 armor-piercing projectile, and was fired using standard testing procedures established by the Department of Justice for evaluating armor types.

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The armor - only an inch thick - features a ceramic strike face, Kevlar backing, and CMFs in the energy-absorbing middle layer.

"We could stop the bullet at a total thickness of less than an inch, while the indentation on the back was less than 8 millimeters," Rabiei writes in press materials issued with the video.

Apart from body and vehicle armor, the CMF plating has potential applications for space travel or even transporting nuclear waste, according to the research team. Earlier testing has demonstrated that CMFs can withstand extremely high temperatures and effectively block x-ray, gamma ray and neutron radiation.

That's some serious armor.


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