Navy

Ceramic ball embedded polymer for body armor

Flexible material for protecting personnel and vehicles from bomb fragments and small arms fire

Military Technology

The images show the ceramic spheres embedded in the elastomer and a live-fire test on the armor as it would be used on a vehicle. The right image shows minimal penetration by three .50 caliber armor piercing rounds hitting within two inches. (NRL photos)

Conventional body armor has typically focused on high tensile strength fibrous weaves, rigid steel or ceramic plates, or a combination of both. The weaves can sometimes be defeated by sharp and pointed projectiles and the plates are heavy and limit body movement and must be replaced after one hit.

Body armor experts at the Naval Research Laboratory have developed improved materials for personal protection. The material includes a flexible liner, a polymer binder disposed on the liner, and ceramic solids embedded in the binder. The flexible liner conforms to a portion of the wearer and elastically deforms in response to the application of mechanical force.

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