The material in the video above was developed by Afsaneh Rabiei, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NC State.
Rabiei has spent years studying a unique class of materials known as composite metal foams (CMFs). As you can see in the video above, a CMF panel measuring just under an inch in thickness is strong enough to disintegrate a bullet on contact. But the material is also lighter than metal-based armors, and potentially safer too.
Since CMFs are foam-based, they disperse the impact of a projectile much better than metal plating can.
“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. To put that in context, the NIJ standard allows up to 44 millimeters indentation in the back of an armor,”
Rabiei explained in an interview with NC State News.
In the case of body armor, less indentation means less potential damage to the wearer. But CMF’s potential goes beyond bullet-proof vests and other defense-related uses.
Besides being lightweight and strong, CMFs are also heat resistant, and have proved to be an effective shield against X-rays, gamma rays and neutron radiation. Because of these qualities, Rabiei and her colleagues see the material being used in a wide variety of applications, from transporting and storing hazardous materials like nuclear waste to protecting spaceships and satellites from flying space debris.
Read more here.