Scientists from North Carolina have unveiled the new mystery material, capable of obliterating an armor-piercing bullet.
Scientists at North Carolina State University have developed a new material that can turn armor piercing bullets into dust. According to a report from Phys.org, mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Afsaneh Rabiei has demonstrated that his years-long work on developing composite metal foams, or CMFs, is finally about to pay off.
In a video released by North Carolina State University, armor made from the new materials withstands a 7.62 X 63 millimeter M2 armor piercing round fired in accordance with the standard testing procedures of the National Institute of Justice at an unbelievably low thickness. The bullet, shown frame by frame, can be seen impacting the CMF armor and simply disintegrating into a dust with a small spark of fire.
According to Rabiei, “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.”
The new material’s ability to withstand bullet impacts is just the beginning, researchers say. The development of composite metal foams could lead to new uses in space exploration and handling dangerously radioactive nuclear waste.
Rabiei’s work on composite metal foams was supported by the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. Her research was able to show that CMFs were exceptionally good at blocking x-rays, gamma rays and neutron radiation. Combined with their ability to withstand fires and high temperatures compared to their initial metal ingredients, CMFs could soon be adopted by all sorts of industries.
The defense applications of such a material cannot be overstated either. While armor is just one potential use for composite metal foams, employing the technology could go on to save countless lives.
The study was published in the journal Composite Structures in 2015. A press release from NC State describing the details of the study can be found here.