New Nanofoam Could Improve Body Armor for Soldiers, Quake-Proof Buildings
March 29, 2013 8:50 AM
comment(s) - last by
Porous material uses robust honeycomb-type design
Sponsored by the
Army Research Office
University of California, San Diego
Professor Yu Qiao
and his Ph.D student Cang Zhao have developed an impressive array of nanofoams that disperse the force of an impact better than previous materials.
The researchers began by creating foams with honeycomb like pores that ranged from 10 microns (micron-foams) to 10 nanometers (nano-foams). The pours encompassed between 50 and 80 percent of the foam's total volume. The pores were created using either combustion or acid etching, followed by dry curing.
The team discovered that the foam with the smallest pores -- the 10 nm pore-size nanofoam -- absorbed impacts the best. Larger foams suffered so-called "damage localization" when exposed to trauma. The energy absorbed was poorly distributed, leading to failures. As a result, these foams would be poor candidates for body armor or building materials.
Smaller pore size films performed better. [Image Source: UCSD]
The work is far from over. The current foams, which will be presented at the
April 18 on the UC San Diego campus are made of silica. While the results are promising, the team believes polymeric or
metallic nanoporous foams
of similar pore composition may perform even better.
The team used a special gun to test the impact resistance. [Image Source: UCSD]
The superfoams have a broad variety of potential applications. They could be used in body armor for athletes to
prevent traumatic injuries
used by soldiers
, and even be used to boost tall buildings' ability to
withstand terrorist blasts or earthquakes
, "We are getting some impressive results. People have been looking at preventing damage from impacts for more than a hundred years. I hope this concept can provide a new solution."
UCSD [press release]
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Did they buy that gun
4/2/2013 9:09:11 AM
Global warming is a known fact, so I don't see the connection. This is far more experimental - materials testing.
Also, building apparatus out of basic materials is very common in engineering and science. There's often a template pre-published you can simply replicate with wood, plastic, some metal tubing and clamps. It's cheap, easy to do with minimal training and doesn't require hiring any expensive equipment or contractors for temporary items.
This is science, being frugal and flexible is normal behavior so long as it doesn't influence the outcome badly. What is the cost of a real rifle compared to this setup?
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