New types of armor could be used as a shield on military vehicles to provide better protection against bullets, as well as on spacecraft to mitigate impacts from meteorite debris.
Like this rubber nanomaterial whose shielding power surpasses steel or Kevlar and which has been developed by engineers from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Engineers have devised ultra-thin films just 75 nanometers thick of a relatively common polymer: semi-crystalline poly (vinylidene fluoride-co-trifluoroethylene).
According to Ramathasan Thevamaran , professor of engineering physics at UW-Madison, and postdoctoral research associate Jizhe Cai have thus shown that the material was superior in dissipating energy from microprojectile impacts over a wide range of velocities. As Thevamaran explains:
When we reduced the polymer to this nano-length scale, we found that its internal microstructure changed completely in unexpected ways compared to its larger scale. Surprisingly, the energy absorption mechanisms in the material became very prominent, and we found that this particular polymer performed significantly better than any other material, both large materials and previously reported nanomaterials, at absorbing energy from projectiles.
Still , Thevamaran cautions that the rubbery nature of this material would make it difficult to use for applications such as bulletproof vests , because the impacts of the bullets would protrude into the material and could cause blunt trauma injuries to the user.