Graphene, the new super structure?
Graphene is a thin layer of pure carbon; the single layer of compacted carbon atoms are held together in a honeycomb, hexagonal structure. This material is highly conductive to heat and electricity, thusly, it is already used in a lot of mainstream electronics. But recently, a study has emerged that has proven that graphene may just have the capability to be far stronger than currently used materials.
In a recent study conducted by, Jae-Hwang Lee at University of Massachusetts and associates at Rice University, shown the first real testing for graphite as a ballistic protection. The study tested 10 – 100 layers of graphite, which range in a thickness of 10- 100 Nano meters. The biggest issue with testing the material is the inability to see if the armor was punctured or if it was just shattered from the force. This is especially true for high velocity weapons, like a rifle. During testing, the armor was fired upon with two times the power of a rifle. The study revealed that under the circumstances the armor outlasted a lot of materials. The results ended in a conclusion that this material is two times the stopping power of Kevlar. It also was reported that the material has 10 times the stopping power of steel. This material is a great substitute for the other materials because it provides that added protection, and has a lighter weight than a plate like steel. The beauty of this material is the ability to add more layers and maintain a narrow and nimbleness of the material.
More about findings
The testing also revealed what happens to the material when it is fired upon. The findings indicate that on impact the bullet stretches the material into a cone shape and then leads to cracking at the site of impact. This was a problem, but scientist say it’s an easy fix. With the addition of a layers or addition of a composite, like ceramic, it can stop cracking in the body armor. In addition, the material itself was able to pass soundwaves three times faster than steel. This means that the material is far more absorbent of impact. The only issue with this material is the production process. Currently, the processes are on either sides of the spectrum. On one side, you can get a massive amount of the material produced but it is far lower grade than needed for ballistic protection. On the other side, you have smaller quantities available that are far higher grade.
This materials ability to be firm, sturdy, and stretch, leads researchers to believe that it is the nest big candidate for armor. This super material has the ability to absorb far more kinetic energy than steel. It also has a lighter weight. This material has the ability to build a bulletproof vest that is a reasonable weight, have a better chance of stopping a bullet, and it has the ability to distribute the force of the impact effectively. This could reduce the number of deaths caused by blunt force trauma, which is sometimes just as lethal as being shot. The application could be endless, not just for body armor, but armor in general.