RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Army-funded research identified a new material that may lead to lightweight armor, protective coatings, blast shields, and other impact-resistant structures.
Researchers at the U.S. Army’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Caltech, and ETH Zürich found that materials formed from precisely patterned nanoscale trusses are tougher than Kevlar and steel.
In experiments, the ultralight structures, called nanoarchitectured materials, absorbed the impact of microscopic projectiles accelerated to supersonic speeds.
“Increasing protection while simultaneously decreasing the weight that soldiers carry is an overreaching theme in our research,” said Dr. James Burgess, ISN program manager for the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, known as DEVCOM, Army Research Laboratory. “This project is a really good example of such efforts where projectile energy absorption is nanostructured mechanism based.”