Researchers Unveil New Material to Help those at War Remain Protected

By Jamie Epstein November 15, 2012

It is truly sad when people volunteer their lives to protect the freedoms those in our country take for granted on a daily basis and oftentimes are maimed for the rest of their days here on earth or even are killed. Hopefully with the new material just released by Rice University lab, those brave and selfless war fighters will be coming home to U.S. soil intact.

The next generation technology is touted as being able to essentially halt bullets in mid air and was struck when a group of scientists including Jae-Hwang Lee alongside a team from MIT's Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, were researching ways to make materials "more impervious to deformation or failure," according to the ABC News website.

If this offering turns out results as planned, it would prove to be a much more durable yet lighter armor for soldiers and police that would protect them in various situations. The material called polystyrene-polydimethylsiloxane diblock-copolymer during the testing phase showed its layers to remain fully formed without breaking when penetrated by a nine mm bullet. “When penetrated by a tiny projectile at a high velocity, the material melted into a liquid that stopped the fast-moving object and actually sealed the hole it made,” the article added.

Scientist Ned Thomas added, "[The layers] tell the story of the evolution of penetration of the projectile and help us understand what mechanisms, at the nanoscale, may be taking place in order for this to be such a great, high-performance, lightweight protection material."

This is not the first time researchers have put their thinking caps on in order to invent things that could protect innocent lives. In fact, back in August Johns Hopkins University revealed it was doing its best to unveil increased performance materials that weighed less for those in active combat. Thus far, the research lab has spent nearly $90 million for a five-year study in conjunction with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the University of Delaware and Rutgers University which could ultimately be the key between life and death.

“It’s a big deal,” commented John Beatty, the Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments collaborative alliance manager, who is part of the Weapons & Materials Research Directorate, ARL. “We will make significant advances in designing materials, but our focus with this enterprise is as much about changing the way people think about designing as it is anything else.”

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

TechZone360 Web Editor

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