Holes make armour ultra-hard for protecting military vehicles

January 6th, 2009 - 4:48 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan 6 (ANI): Scientists from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) have devised an ultra-hard vehicle armour with an array of holes to protect military personnel.

According to a report by BBC News, details of the steel armour, called Super Bainite, were outlined during a seminar at the University of Cambridge.

Professor Peter Brown from the MoD team claims that the array of holes has given the armour a protective advantage, as the perforations help deflect incoming projectiles.

You shouldnt think of them as holes, you should think of them as edges. When a bullet hits an edge, it gets deflected, and turns from a sharp projectile into a blunt fragment, which is much easier to stop. It doubles the ballistic performance and halves the weight, he explained.

The armour plates have performed well in ballistic testing at the Ministry of Defence’’s firing ranges.

Certain heat treatments alter the fine-scale structure of steel, creating a phase known as bainite, which has been known about since the 1930s.

But the process, developed by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) scientists in collaboration with steelmaker Corus, allows the alloy to be produced quickly and cost effectively.

Super Bainite develops its exceptional strength through a new low-temperature process called isothermal hardening.

The steel is heated to 1,000 degrees Celsius, cooled to about 200 degrees C and then held at this temperature for a period of time before cooling to room temperature.

Initially, the team held the steel at about 200 C for just over two weeks to achieve the right ballistic protection.

However, this was too slow for the process to be commercialised. The researchers subsequently reduced the heat treatment time to eight hours by transforming the steel at 250 C instead of 200 C.

The resulting nano-structured steel has exceptional hardness. (ANI)

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