FoxNews reports on a new special type of foam. This foam based armor is stopping armor-piercing rounds. Testing conducted by a development team has shown that this possibility exists. Foam body armor was used to test against an armor-piercing bullet. What were the results?
The foam appeared to have done it’s job. The strikeface was made with a new composite metal foam of boron carbide ceramics and the backplate was made with Kevlar. The foam shield they tested with was matched against a 7.62 x 63 mm M2 armor-piercing round. The kinetic energy of the bullet was absorbed by the foam. Is foam body armor a possibility?
Dr Afsaneh Rabiei, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at North Carolina State University, leading the development team that created the foam must think so. Their work can be used to shield military and law enforcement by developing ultra light body armor to protect their personnel.
The foam is a special type of foam called composite metal foams, or CMF and it even appears that armor-piercing bullets cannot get through it. In fact the bullets seem to pulverize to powder upon contact with the foam shield. The National Institute of Justice standard allows up to 44 mm indentation from a bullet on side facing the user. The bullets only causes a 8 mm indentation on the back of the shield.
The foam is a composite metal foam. Molten metal created by the team has gas bubbles pass through it. A froth is created out of this process and when the froth cools it becomes a lightweight, ultra strong matrix material. Industry could make a composite metal foam through processes like 3D printing and milling. The foam is two times better at protecting against fire and heat than regualr metal. The foam withstood the heat twice as long as regualr metal in testing done of 0.75 inches thick foam for 30 minutes in 800 degrees Celsius fire.
Real world applications in body armor, storage containers and heat shields are just some of the developments being considered.