Soon, bulletproof vests made of cement

June 30th, 2009 - 5:52 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 30(ANI): A new type of body armour made from cement is being developed by engineers at the University of Leeds.

The boffins are combining super-strong cement with recycled carbon fibre materials to make a material tough enough to withstand most types of bullets.

Dr Philip Purnell, who is leading the team at the School of Civil Engineering in the University, said: “By using cement instead of alumina we are confident we can deliver a cost-effective level of protection for many people at risk. It should be good enough for people like security guards, reporters and aid workers who are worried about the odd pot shot being taken at them.

“The fact is many of the armoured vests sold today are over-engineered for the threats they face. Cement based body armour would not only create a whole new market but it would also take some of the pressure off the demand for hi-spec alumina models so that people like soldiers, who really need this kit, can get it.”

Till date, hi-spec body armour is constructed with alumina plates - the raw material used to make aluminium - which is heated to 1600 degrees Celsius for up to two weeks in a process called ’sintering’ making them ultra hard.

Enhanced combat body armour (ECBA) as supplied to UK troops uses sintered alumina plates.

However, in the past UK and US soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have faced shortages of ECBA as production has struggled to keep up with soaring global demand.

Leeds engineers call the project ‘Cementing the future’ and also suggest putting the material to use in pump-less fridges, a new type of catalytic converter, and improved bone replacements. (ANI)

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