June 24, 2006, 07:44 AM
Just saw this today.
Has anybody heard anything else on this like what rnds at what speeds it can
stop? If this really can work it would be a great aid to our troops but I can't
help wonder if it would be breathable enough or would "seal them in" and
cause over-heating problems.
June 24, 2006, 10:58 AM
It's pretty amazing stuff. This is only one form of the invention - IIRC, an Israeli company is ramping up to produce something similar, using nanotechnology. Body armor is going to be revolutionized over the next decade or so.
There's also the issue of applying it to vehicles. Imagine a main battle tank with the power and performance of the Abrams, but weighing only half as much!
Double Naught Spy
June 24, 2006, 11:05 AM
I loved the quote from the soldier (paraphrased), "I can't remember leaving the base and ever feeling 100% safe."
No kidding Sherlock Holmes. And thank you for setting up the straw man for the video to give the impression that maybe if you had this new armor that you would feel 100% safe. Dude, you can't be 100% safe in a combat zone and you should not ever feel 100% safe. If you do, then you don't understand the situation. Even tankers know they are not 100% safe in Abrams tanks, so there is no way in hell a foot soldier in a combat zone will be 100% safe via his personally worn armor.
In the video, the ballistic test was of a round nosed pistol round. I don't doubt hollowpoint would be equally or better stopped as hollowpoint expands quicker than round nosed ball. HOWEVER, the did not shot a rifle round being fired at the material with spitzer points. I would have been a whole lot more impressed if they showed an AK round fired at the kevlar and it being stopped. While the new liquid has the potential to add protection, it does not appear it will be protecting soldiers from rifle ballistic threats.
I liked the knife demo. If you stab really hard, you can't penetrate, but I bet it will slide right through more slowly. Of course, the woman also appeared to be stabbing on a hard surface. Notice that the kevlar being stabbed never flexes very far downward when stabbed. That means there is a hard surface under it. I bet that hard surface under it is needed for the violent agitation required to produce the polymer lockup and prevents penetration. How would it work on somebody's relatively soft leg? Also note there are several layers of kevlar being stabbed, not just a singular layer.
I don't doubt the material could be helpful. I think it shows the potential of making possible clothing weight kevlar clothing basically flak and maybe even Level IIa ballistically protective. However, the soldier in the video noted his Sgt. was shot in the groin where he was not protected by his vest. Fine. No doubt he was shot with a rifle and his kevlar vest, or a kevlar crotch cover, or this new stuff would not have protected his crotch since the spitzer round would have passed right through.
So the news is more than 2 years old. Obviously, the stuff isn't as great as once thought in that have a wet soldier running round maybe isn't conducive to good soldiering in the current form. Maybe it is too expensive, unreliable, or whatever. The Kevlar is supposed to hold the liquid in place, but what keeps it from draining to the bottom via gravity. I can't believe it will remain ever-suspended in a balanced manner, not as a liquid.
So the liquid armor contains bazillions of tiny glass or ceramic particles? Given motion over time, will they not damage the kevlar, cutting it via repeated abrassive motion? Like kevlar, it won't be worn in directly against the skin because it would be a severe irritant. So the clothing weight protection would then need a layer to seal in the impregnated kevlar (to keep the kevlar and the glass from irritating skin as well as keeping the liquid from evaporating, migrating, or whatever), plus a cover for the cover of the kevlar, just like in ballistic vests. What you are talking about isn't lightweight clothing, but winter clothing and potentially fairly heavy winter clothing.
So the liquid stiffens when agitated? The science woman stirred it in her bottle with a wooden stirrer and it stiffened. Say a soldier has pants out of the material and has to run. That will agitate the material, causing it to stiffen, and then you have an immobile soldier that has fallen, yet uninjured, in the middle of the battlefield. What happens to a soldier wearing a shirt made from the matieral and he fires his M60 machinegun. The high rate recoil agitates the material and now his arm and shoulder are in a virtual cast. As shown by the stir example, the stuff isn't an Instant On - Instant Off reactive material.
Also see http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa004&articleID=0007EF9B-9F02-1446-9A6283414B7F0000
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