It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
A Georgia Institute of Technology researcher has developed a process that increases the hardness and improves the ballistic performance of the material used by the US military for body armour. The researcher's start-up company is commercialising the technology.
Boron carbide is the US Defense Department's material of choice for body armour. It is the third hardest material on earth, yet it's extremely lightweight. But it has an Achilles heel that piqued the interest of Georgia Tech Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Robert Speyer five years ago.
He knew that the boron carbide powder used to form the armour had a reputation for poor performance during sintering -- a high-temperature process in which particles consolidate, without melting, to eliminate pores between them in the solid state. Poor sintering yields a more porous material that fractures more easily – not a good thing for a soldier depending on it to stop a bullet.
Determined to understand the sintering problem, Speyer built an instrument called a differential dilatometer to measure the expansion and contraction of materials during sintering heat treatments to temperatures as high as 4,300 degrees Fahrenheit.
"As a particle compact sinters, it shrinks 12 to 15%," Speyer explained. "There are nuances that occur in contraction, and if you monitor them accurately (with a dilatometer), it tells you what is happening at different stages in the sintering process. So we used that information in conjunction with additional materials characterisation techniques to figure out the reasons why boron carbide didn't sinter well, and then found ways around them."
Originally posted by BigTrain
Speaking of soldiers as weapons platforms, do you guys remember the Aliens movie when sigorney weaver was piloting that full blody robotic loader. I envison a time when the Marines have personel walkers similar to that, kind of a mech-warrior situation. You would have the standard ground marines along side a dozen or so super mech soldiers. These robot suits could enable the solider to run at extremely high speeds, jump dozens of feet into the air and susatin immense damage. They would begin with exo-skelten prototypes, and progress to larger, more versitle mech warriors.