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Reactive personal armor?

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posted on Apr, 2 2005 @ 05:58 PM
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I remember some of the cavalry tanks had reactive armor when I was in the army. Being a humble light-infantry Sgt. I must confess I lack any deep knowledge about the technology.

My question is if it might be possible to make reactive personal armor?

Wikipedia - reactive armor

Reactive armor's protective mechanism involves producing an explosion or other such reaction when it is impacted by a weapon, actively "pushing back" against it. This is particularly effective against shaped charge warheads, in which the warhead directs a focused jet of molten metal against the armor; reactive armor's reaction disrupts the jet before it reaches the armor's surface.


Say, if your vest was covered with small squares of explosives set to detonate outwards on impact from bullets. Even if the outwards force wasn't enough to totally deflect the projectile, it could deflect it somewhat or start an expansion of it to make it easier for your regular armor underneath to stop it.

Anyone know whether this has ever been tried? Or if there are factors that would make it impractical or impossible?



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posted on Apr, 2 2005 @ 06:02 PM
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I think the principle factor limiting the introduction of this technology would the an almost universal unwillingness of soldiers to don the vests.

Weight would also be a concern, as would storage and testing.

I think it's a bad idea for the above reasons.



posted on Apr, 2 2005 @ 06:11 PM
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Valid points, but I also remember some of my cavalry friends being skeptical of the original reactive armor years ago, now that they are familiar with it, they wouldn't be without it...

Obviously, you would use explosives that would only be set off by a very high impact.



posted on Apr, 2 2005 @ 06:13 PM
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Well, reactive armor has been defeated, in terms of new Anti-Tank weapons, so it's not a cure-all. Also, I'd be fine sitting INSIDE the tank that has explosives on the outside, I wouldn't be nearly so comfortable being the tank, yaknow?



posted on Apr, 2 2005 @ 06:23 PM
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Spreading out the force from a bullet to a vest would be better than reacting to it wouldn't it? For tanks etc. where the momentum of a shell is huge its probably easier to react against the shell because a tank is many tons and a human is only a tiny fraction of a tanks weight.
Maybe I'm wrong, and I apoligse if I am



posted on Apr, 2 2005 @ 06:38 PM
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Well, you wouldn't be the tank. That would be your regular body armor. Also, the mass of the human body is many times that of a bullet, so that wouldn't necessarily be a problem.

I can see why you would think twice about putting on a vest of explosives though.

Anyway, it would have been interesting if someone knew whether it had been tested (on dummies obviously) at some point.

Reminds me of a story from a guy I know in the special forces:

Companies send them stuff to test out all the time, and at one point they got a couple of Kevlar helmets, supposedly strong enough to deflect 7.62 projectiles.
Confident in this new superior technology, a couple of lads decided to put one helmet to the test by firing at it with a 9mm handgun... wearing it themselves.
At this very moment, one of the officers walks in. He immediately stops them as they are breaching about a million safety regulations, and tells them off.

A couple of days later, they receive a letter asking wether they liked the glass-fiber test models and if they wanted to check out the real thing...



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posted on Apr, 2 2005 @ 08:17 PM
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ERA for G.Is. Wouldn't one failed armor just blow up the person wearing it? And wouldn't the detonation of the ERA to blast the bullet away basically blast you with shrapnel?



posted on Apr, 2 2005 @ 08:20 PM
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Current personal body armor works fine, and I think reactive armor on top of personal body armor would be too expensive, complicating, not to mention it would be impractical. I don't see it catching on. Do I think its possible, I do but I don't see it now replacing current tech.





West Point, Out.



posted on Apr, 2 2005 @ 09:20 PM
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Personally I disagree that current armor works fine. I feel that we have a strong need for improvement. However I'll agree that reactive armor isn't the way to go. At least not the explosive kind.

Wouldn't the explosion in theory cause the soldier to get knocked off of his feet? So getting knocked down is a problem, especially if the bullet could be stopped by other means. Then of course, as cited, weight and limited flexibility is a problem.

I figure the only practical idea at this point for reactive armor is the one that works on the corn starch concept. Basically it's liquid in a bag normally, but a high velocity object causes it to harden nearly instantly.

Either way since both ideas are years away, our best bet is probably good old kevlar.



posted on Apr, 2 2005 @ 09:33 PM
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If it was set up for a response to low level pressure, and you fell over, you may end up bouncing around like a beach ball


Is a bullet the same as a "shaped charge" I don't think so, and therefore it may not be as effective as on tanks, etc.



posted on Apr, 2 2005 @ 09:59 PM
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I think the hardest part would be convincing me to be the first soldier to field test it:

Sargeant: "Here Soldier, put on this new explosive body armor and stand out on the range and let us shoot at you and see how well it works"

Me: "Crap, I knew I should've joined the Air Force!"



posted on Apr, 3 2005 @ 04:24 AM
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The best combination is regular body armor combined with that new liquid armor thing to protect hips, arms etc. Maybe the future soldiers will have full body protection.

[edit on 3-4-2005 by longbow]



posted on Apr, 3 2005 @ 04:26 AM
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Originally posted by COWlan
ERA for G.Is. Wouldn't one failed armor just blow up the person wearing it? And wouldn't the detonation of the ERA to blast the bullet away basically blast you with shrapnel?


The explosion wouldn't need to be big. According to Newtons law of forces, the energy from the blast needn't be bigger than the discharge originally sending the bullet on its way. Since we can easily pick up the recoil of a rifle with our body, the force resisting it could similarly be resisted. The shrapnel could be a problem though.


Originally posted by WestPoint23
Current personal body armor works fine...


I disagree, for personal armor to be able to stop a "large" caliber rifle bullet, it needs to be very heavy. Ceramic plates and such.


Originally posted by cyberdude78
Wouldn't the explosion in theory cause the soldier to get knocked off of his feet? So getting knocked down is a problem, especially if the bullet could be stopped by other means.


Again, Newtons law. If it could be fine-tuned in some way, so that the energy of the outward explosion exactly matched the force of the bullet, the soldier wouldn't feel anything. I see that is not likely to happen, but as I mention above, even then the actual forces propelling a bullet aren't that big.


Then of course, as cited, weight and limited flexibility is a problem.


I can't see why. Explosives are lightweight, and they could be put together in a flexible way. It shouldn't take much to make it more flexible than ceramic plates...


I figure the only practical idea at this point for reactive armor is the one that works on the corn starch concept. Basically it's liquid in a bag normally, but a high velocity object causes it to harden nearly instantly.


This looks like a interesting idea. If memory serves me right, cobwebs have some of those properties.


Either way since both ideas are years away, our best bet is probably good old kevlar.


Well, we are talking about possible future technology here.



Originally posted by Netchicken
If it was set up for a response to low level pressure, and you fell over, you may end up bouncing around like a beach ball


ROTFL, thanks.


Since no one is supporting the idea, I guess I'm flogging a dead horse. But hey, if the horse is dead it wouldn't mind a little whipping anyway.


[edit on 3/4/05 by gekko]



posted on Apr, 3 2005 @ 04:46 AM
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As far as future armor, I like the idea of liquid epoxy that hardens instantly in response to heat and contact. It would go from goo to cement, trapping the bullet.

There is a real issue with the soldier getting knocked down, I didn't even think about that.

Also, another issue would be shrapnel, could do more damage to extremities than the bullet ever would have been capable of.

Another point to consider is that mass is increased proportionally to kineticism, meaning that although the bullet weighs much less than the man, the actual, felt weight of the bullet is many times greater because of the kinetic energy involved. If this weren't the case, people wouldn't ever get knocked over by a bullet.

The exception to the above rule is those bullets that travel very fast, and have a small surface area. They pass through the body with less resistance, and transfer less energy onto the target. That's why I wouldn't put my life in the hands of a 9mm or a .22, or a 5.56 for that matter - not enough stopping power.



posted on Apr, 3 2005 @ 04:47 AM
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The reactive armor for personal use of soldiers, would be too heavy in vest form, along with dangerous. Now when DARPA finishes the Exo program, combined with the optical invisibility studies that are going on are perfected, or at least completed will this be possible. And probably available, however I don't see reactive armor as practical enough to provide individual protection.

Great idea, but only when the time is right. If it hasn't already been done, I suggest you get a patent then copy right on the concept. LoL , who knows you might get lucky.

So what are your ideas of reactive armor helmets?



posted on Apr, 3 2005 @ 06:21 AM
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What if they encased a paratrooper in a 20X20 foot cube of AeroGel, and dropped him from a plane down into the latest hotspot. He lands, jiggles a little, and settles. Everyone within 5 miles saw the crazy sight and comes running.

They see the paratrooper suspended in the stuff, and start firing like mad. Of course, bullet after bullet, even the RPGs get stuck, and they waste all their ammo. After a while they get upset and try to cut through the stuff, and after twenty or so minutes of hacking away with their machetes, sweating under the sun, they get to the man inside.

Now, they're all clustered around, wanting a better look, shouting and brandishing rifles, yadda yadda. The lead guy gets deep enough in and starts to realize it's a trick..that's not a man! It's a cleverly disguised jumbo action figure! That's when the assembled evil-doers hear the whistle of inbound ADM.

hehehe

But seriously, would AeroGel work as a liner for flak vests? If it can stop micro-meteorites travelling at many multiples of the speed of sound, it should be able to stop a sniper bullet without a problem.



posted on Apr, 3 2005 @ 02:36 PM
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What happens if there is an explosion near you when your wearing this stuff, won't it make things worse?



posted on Apr, 3 2005 @ 02:41 PM
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Not necessarily. Most gel/putty/paste explosives fuse/melt rather than explode when subjected to heat. They're usually ignited with electrical detonators. As far as reactive plate, I think it's a pressure switch or a compression function, maybe both. It's possible, sure, but not necessarily true.



posted on Apr, 3 2005 @ 02:47 PM
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Aerogel is revolutionary. Its able to withstand high temperature, it is lightweight, it can absorb impact of hundreds of times of its own weight and best of all, its like Jello.



posted on Apr, 4 2005 @ 05:07 PM
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Gel would be considered non reactive armor, not the subject of this thread. Another should be started for that, thread thieves...






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