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The Military News Science Technology

New Metal Foam Armor Obliterates Bullets To Dust On Impact (discovery.com) 93

HughPickens.com writes: Discovery Magazine reports that researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a super strong armor material that literally turns bullets to dust upon impact. The armor plating 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. 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," says Afsaneh Rabiei. "To put that in context, the NIJ standard allows up to 44 millimeters indentation in the back of an armor." CMFs are very effective at shielding X-rays, gamma rays and neutron radiation. Other applications include space exploration and shipping nuclear waste which both require a material to be not only light and strong, but also capable of withstanding extremely high temperatures and blocking radiation. A video shows a 7.62 x 63 millimeter M2 armor-piercing projectile that was fired using standard testing procedures established by the Department of Justice for evaluating armor types.
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New Metal Foam Armor Obliterates Bullets To Dust On Impact

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  • S.S.D.D (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "The use of airborne attacks had all bit ceased by the middle of the 21st century due to advances in anti-aircraft and anti-missile technology. Highly accurate, fast aiming laser or coil gun AA sites, coupled with the latest in anti-stealth radar/IR/laser detection systems, meant that most aircraft or missiles would never get close to their targets.

    This means most battles are now fought on the ground. Due to fullerene armour making most weapons obsolete, most of the fighting today is men in suits of armour [poisonedminds.com]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Don't bother clicking the link. It leads to one of the laziest and boring webcomics I've seen in quite a while.

  • 7.62x63mm (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 09, 2016 @05:02AM (#51873753)

    For those who are confused, 7.62x63mm is the metric designation for a .30-06.

    • by BECoole ( 558920 )

      There are 2 types of M2 30/06 - a steel core AP round that is a standard for testing body armor, and a lead core 150gr bullet.

      I didn't see the core in the video, so I think they used the lead core. Still very impressive, however.

      • by Agripa ( 139780 )

        30-06 is one of the few calibers where real armor piercing bullets are available to civilians. You can still find Lake City 30-06 AP and it is non-magnetic because the core is tungsten carbide and not steel.

    • For those who are confused, 7.62x63mm is the metric designation for a .30-06.

      Confusion was intended:

      "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," says Afsaneh Rabiei.

      But it's nice to know they somewhat cater for the Liberians, the USAmericans and the rest of the world.

      • by rjh ( 40933 )

        (I'm the AC who originally posted; I wasn't logged in then.)

        But it's nice to know they somewhat cater for the Liberians, the USAmericans and the rest of the world.

        Oddly enough, a .30-06 is only called 7.62x63mm. That's the metricified name for it... but not the actual dimensions of the round: the bullet diameter is 7.8mm, not 7.62mm.

        Cartridge names look like they're dimensional quantities, but they're not, and really never have been. The .38 Special and the .357 Magnum fire the same size of bullet. (In

        • I don't object much to using 'imperial' and 'metric' (NATO) designations for bullets, most of the time it's clear what's intended. I do think it's weird and unwise (see Mars Climate Orbiter) to mix units when talking about something else.
  • Oh great. So now we're going to need even more guns.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yep. Standard police procedure is to shoot suspects until they die. Better increase the policing budget.

    • by Alumoi ( 1321661 )

      Nope, just learn to aim for the head, not for the body.

  • this is a race , once you get an effective armor you then create better projectiles that nullify any advantages given by that armor .

    wonder if they can create bullets with same metal foam ( at least on the face that hits the target )? may that would be be too expensive since not everyone will be wearing that armor and only few bullets hit targets anyway?

    cheaper counter method would be to pack some bullets with some cheap poisonous dust.

    • once you get an effective armor you then create better projectiles that nullify any advantages given by that armor .

      Effective armor already existed, so people have been trying to create better projectiles for a long time.

    • cheaper counter method would be to pack some bullets with some cheap poisonous dust.

      That method has already been used, and countered [wikipedia.org]

      • but not in small bullets that needs strong armor or some such target to explode to affect a very small area.

        • What does it matter, if you know your threat has that capability, and you have existing countermeasures to nullify it. What would it achieve?
          • so soldiers are going to wear gas masks? to protect against poisonous dust sent through exploding bullets?

            • so soldiers are going to wear gas masks? to protect against poisonous dust sent through exploding bullets?

              No, they'll choose die in their millions from poisoned bullets all the time screaming 'what can we possibly do about this unstoppable threat'.
              Do you have any idea how defence works?

              • yes . 1st hand. do you?
                btw why is it that soldiers with best armor are losing wars. they will lose even more if they had to wear gas masks all the time..

                • yes . 1st hand. do you? btw why is it that soldiers with best armor are losing wars.

                  Poor strategy. But since you have 1st hand experience you should already know that.

                  they will lose even more if they had to wear gas masks all the time..

                  Americans will continue to lose wars against peasants and goat herders because they continue to believe that the best hardware is all that is required to win.

                  • I don't know that you understand the meaning of the word "lose". The only recent war that America lost was Vietnam, and that was down to political issues, not issues with the military.

                    Iraq was won in a matter of a week, Afghanistan took longer, but seems to have achieved its goals. ISIS is a failure of the Iraqi army, and their president for choosing to fall on his sword rather than accept help from the US.

                    • I don't know that you understand the meaning of the word "lose". The only recent war that America lost was Vietnam, and that was down to political issues, not issues with the military.

                      So you consider Iraq and Afghanistan a victory? Really?
                      The biggest strategic blunder in modern history and you call that a win? Fucking hell, what's in the water over there?

                      Iraq was won in a matter of a week, Afghanistan took longer, but seems to have achieved its goals. ISIS is a failure of the Iraqi army, and their president for choosing to fall on his sword rather than accept help from the US.

                      Oh ok then....

                    • So, you see Saddam Hussein's government still in power? What are your conditions for winning if the Iraqi government was toppled? That was after all the goal, was to stop a dictator who was threatening the region with WMD (mostly nerve gas and the like). Iraq was well on its way to stability, but the president made unreasonable demands to allow the soldiers to stay (like they are still in South Korea, Germany, Japan) and help stabilize his country, so the US president had to withdraw troops when they sho

                    • What are your conditions for winning?

                      To leave the place in a better position than you found it.

                      Iraq and Afghanistan were military victories, not losses. They were political losses, as they turned out to be a poor choice, but the US did not lose these wars, the US politicians screwed it all up.

                      Wibble, wibble. By your definition, the Germans won WW2 since Neville Chamberlain was no longer in power at the end of it, and the Germans had less casualties than the Russians

                      What would be the conditions of winning in your world?

                      If Iraq wasn't a whole lot worse than it was when Saddam was running the place. Afghanistan is still going and the insurgency is just as strong as on day one 15 years ago. If that's your version of victory you're a fucking idiot.

                    • What are your conditions for winning?

                      To leave the place in a better position than you found it.

                      In which case no war in history was ever won. Glad to hear how you feel, it definitely puts your opinion in perspective...as not meaning a damn thing.

                      What would be the conditions of winning in your world?

                      If Iraq wasn't a whole lot worse than it was when Saddam was running the place. Afghanistan is still going and the insurgency is just as strong as on day one 15 years ago. If that's your version of victory you're a fucking idiot.

                      I'm sure I'm the fucking idiot here, considering that by all measures the Taliban isn't in power, and are being forced to the negotiation table to lay down their arms, much like the FARC in Colombia.

                    • In which case no war in history was ever won.

                      Ahem, Most of the world that doesn't speak German or Japanese politely disagree with you.

                      I'm sure I'm the fucking idiot here, considering that by all measures the Taliban isn't in power, and are being forced to the negotiation table to lay down their arms, much like the FARC in Colombia.

                      Yes, yes that's it. I'm pretty sure the Russians said something similar in 1980. In fact, George W Bush announced something very similar in 2003. How did that work out?

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      Harder jackets and higher speeds would be the next logical steps but will probably mean more lined barrels. I'd guesstimate 20 years out unless we've a major conflict with lots of money invested. If that's the case, expect 2-3 years and a total of about 5 for the new weapons to be really effective. That's all assuming this is something that can be scaled up into production sizes to suit. I obviously haven't read the article but tech like this languishes until needed for large-scale conflicts and then gets i

    • wonder if they can create bullets with same metal foamd

      No, that would just make it penetrate even less.

      A fleschette in a discarding sabot (think "little metal arrow, sandwiched in a pair of pieces of wadding to provide a bullet-sized piston for getting it up to speed in the barrel before they fall off in flight") should cut through this pretty easily, and they're already available.

      Downside is that it'll also go through the body behind it pretty easily, doing minimal damage unless it hits something like the

  • Stopping a 30-06 M2 isn't actually that hard. A half inch of steel will do it easily. If that steel is of the Abrasion Resistant (AR) variety of decent grade (like AR400 or AR500), it will hold up to thousands of shots with virtually no wear.

    Of course, a half inch steel plate is very heavy and not the sort of thing an infantryman wants to have to wear. Which is why Type IV plates [wikipedia.org] are made of exotic materials like this.

    This armor is actually a laminate. The impact surface is ceramic and very hard. The m

    • by wheelbarrio ( 1784594 ) on Saturday April 09, 2016 @08:47AM (#51874175)
      Clearly a lot of uniformed upvoters here if this gets a 5. The article says the test was done with an M2 AP (not ball) round and a half inch of even armour steel is not stopping one of those, let alone "thousands of shots with virtually no wear". See for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
      • And furthermore it's probably safe to say that insurgents overseas are probably using steel core surplus ammunition.
    • A half inch thick AR500 plate will NOT stop an AP (armor piercing) 7.62x63 (30-06) round. You, sir, are simply mistaken.

      • Want to see it?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

        I was going off the top of my head in my earlier post, and I did get some things wrong. I was indeed thinking ball instead of the old WWII AP round.

        The general rule of thumb (from naval guns, of all things) is that you need your mild steel armor to be about as thick as the incoming projectile to stop it. You add about 50% if the projectile is designed to pierce armor. You can take that 50% back if your armor is face hardened. (Or if you have a decapping la

      • My great uncle gave me an old 30-06 surplus rifle (with bayonet), and a few boxes of those old AP rounds.

        I won it in a game of sheephead my first year deer hunting.

        He knew I had the hand of a lifetime when I picked on the end and went in 4 against 1, so he took the opportunity to bet (pass on) my great grandpas gun that I couldn't beat them all.

        What fun!

        (Come to find out years later my great grandpa bought cases of the surplus 30-06s. Had enough to use them as oars in his boat)

  • I think Mega Damage armor has just been invented. Giant robots are just around the corner, since we already have Juicers.

  • Weight? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grimJester ( 890090 ) on Saturday April 09, 2016 @06:35AM (#51873891)
    The article is kinda pointless if it doesn't mention the weight of the armor, which is kinda the whole point.
  • I noticed that Batman seems to have this armor as he can deflect bullets. However, I always wondered why don't the bad guys just shoot him in the mouth? It is completely exposed.
    • Re:Batman (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 09, 2016 @07:03AM (#51873945)

      Isn't that what Robin is for?

    • Re:Batman (Score:4, Interesting)

      by swb ( 14022 ) on Saturday April 09, 2016 @07:56AM (#51874033)

      I saw some documentary that sort of explained this.

      It was about SWAT teams and storming rooms and how they like to move quickly in patterns the person in the room can't predict.

      The movement creates a kind of cognitive problem for the adversary in the room which causes them to target center of mass. This kind of increases the utility of body armor because the adversary "can't" target their heads very well, making any shots likely to hit the body armor instead of more exposed extremities.

      It seemed kind of reasonable to me, although I wonder if there's a "in real life" aspect to this that might weaken the tactic, like recoil or muzzle climb tending to cause point of impact on multiple shots to rise. My guess is that the movement of the SWAT guys is enough of a deterrent for secondary shots to not hit them.

      The other possibly confounding factor would be just the random nature of poor marksmanship or the "spray and pray" effect. A presumably unskilled shooter may simply fire a lot of rounds in a way that disregards any aiming or target motion, possibly increasing the likelihood of some impact. My guess is that part of the goal of SWAT movement is rapid lateral movement relative to the adversary, making it difficult for the adversary to achieve a wide enough field of fire for even random shooting to be effective.

      It does make me wonder if special forces type soldiers have a specifically trained countermeasure to defend against trained, skilled people storming a room, such as sweep firing from extreme lateral angles, combined with their own movement, to at least reduce any advantage in attacker methods.

      • That's kind of like how beginner soccer players tend to kick the ball directly to the goalie, even though there is a huge net with plenty of places to kick the ball.
    • With a short barrel shotgun they wouldn't even need to aim.
    • I noticed that Batman seems to have this armor as he can deflect bullets. However, I always wondered why don't the bad guys just shoot him in the mouth? It is completely exposed.

      That's why he has a big yellow target on his chest.

  • I don't care much for the military, but this looks like a very cool thing for NASA. Keep those astronauts safe from micro meteorites. Especially with the weight consideration.

  • > effective at shielding X-rays, gamma rays and neutron radiation sounds like the next fallout 4 armor mod.
  • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Saturday April 09, 2016 @10:32AM (#51874547)

    Not good enough. A foot-thick plate of this stuff still wouldn't protect me from my ex-wife's "Stare Of Death".

    That bitch could galvanize a battleship with just a look. You guys know the look I'm talking about.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      These guys only know the look their mother gives them when the basement needs another shot of frebreeze

  • I do radiation shielding for a living, and there is no way 1 inch of low density _anything_ is going to give you any kind of useful radiation shielding. Maybe x-rays will be attenuated enough to talk about, but you may as well paper for all the neutron and high energy gamma shielding that will give you.

    • by AJWM ( 19027 )

      On the contrary, for neutron shielding you want low density materials.

      And the only difference between x-rays and gamma rays is the frequency.

      I do hope you're not doing radiation shielding for anything critical.

      • For neutron shielding, you want low-Z material, not low density material. Neutron shields are pretty much always made of concrete, water, or high density polyethylene (HDPE). All of those are relatively high density (compared to a metal foam anyway). What all those have in common is a high density of hydrogen (concrete less so, but it's cheap so you can put more of it). Metal foam is low density, low hydrogen content, so pretty much the worst thing you could think of for neutron shielding.

        And of course

      • First tow sentences are wrong, go back to school.

        I guess your parent knows what he is talking about ...

  • Does anyone care to explain the physics of that claim to me because I can't see how lowering the density of a barrier is going to make it more effective.
  • So its clearly cool for armor, but it sounds like something that might be very useful for say a space station? Both for shielding against incoming projectiles (granted slow ones) and potentiall for its radiation protection... not sure what the spectrum is on that danger though... How expensive is it... insulation properties? Seems like it could be used for a number of things from tornado proofing homes to gun barrels.
  • So that's what Imperial Storm Troopers wear!

Is a person who blows up banks an econoclast?

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