Hair so strong, it could stop a bullet
As history will tell you, for years, ballistic protection has essentially been the same in design and materials. But what if we wanted to start from scratch a make a whole new class of material, inspired by the structure of hair strands. According to several publications, a new study on hair could lead scientist to a new polymer for ballistics protection. In San Diego, CA at the University of California, there has been a new study conducted on the natural resilience and strength of hair. It has been observed for year’s hairs ability to withstand against deformation. Hair has a strength ratio close to materials like steel, and can be stretched one and a half times before breaking. This can be observed from the surface, but the team in California decided it was time to understand this mystery.
Unboxing the mystery
In running its testing, the team decided it needed to take a new approach on the examination of hair. They decided to observe it on a Nano scale level, to really understand the complexity behind the structure observing at this level allows for an extremely detailed visual to the effects of stretching or deformation. In testing they also wanted to see why hair can sometimes break or rip, despite its ability to maintain resilience, and what variables could attribute to this phenomenon. In a controlled environment, they watched as the strands altered during deformation. During testing they observed that hair, behaves differently depending on the speed of deformation or stretching. If a strand is stretched at a rapid rate, it’s virtually stronger than when it is stretched slower. You may be wondering how that may even be possible, well when stretched, the strand structure changes. This change in structure, is the inspiration behind the possibility of a new polymer.
Understanding the structure
The structure of the hair strand is made us of two main components, the cortex, and the matrix. The cortex is made up of parallel fibrils, and the matrix is composed of amorphous structure. The cortex has the ability to withstand strand stretching, while the matrix, is sensitive to the speed of stretching. These two components combine to give the strand the ability to hold its resilience during stretching. The two structures also, change as the strand is stretched. When deformation occurs, on a Nano scale level, it can be observed that the fibrils in the cortex are made up of thousands of coil shaped chains. These chains are called alpha helix chains. As the strand is stretched, these coils unravel to for beta sheets. According to results reported by team of researchers, this is the reason hair is able to withstand stretching without breaking. This structure change can also be reversible if undergoes a small amount of strain. This ability to withstand from kinetic forces, has the team inspired to create a new polymer based of its structure. The team is still testing the effects of moisture on hair before proceeding with polymer creation trials. They want to understand waters ability to make hair recover on a Nano scale level. The team believes that the key to building a great polymer lies in understanding the structure of the hair strands.
In your search for high tech protection, you should invest in a ballistic protection that is reliable, innovative, and dependable. Although the hair inspired polymer isn’t available as of yet, The Best Bullet Proof Vest has a huge selection of NIJ tested an approved armored plates, and plate carriers.