The composite metal foam has applications in a number of fields from military to space exploration to shipping nuclear waste.
Scientists have created super strong metal foam that turns bullets into dust on impact.
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North California State University recently released a dramatic video that shows how armor made out of composite metal foam demolishes a bullet fired from a rifle. The bullet in the video is 7.62 x 63 millimeter M2 armor-piercing projectile that literally explodes into dust on contact.
“We could stop the bullet at a total thickness of less than an inch, while the indentation on the back was less than 8 millimeters. To put that into context, the NIJ (National Institute of Justice) standard allows up to 44 millimeters indentation in the back of an armor.” Afsaneh Rabiei, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NC State who spend several years experimenting with composite metal foams said in a statement.
The new novel material is light weight yet stronger than traditional metal plating and has application in a number of fields. The first obvious use that comes to the mind is protecting soldiers and vehicles from hazardous, explosive material. This material could potentially replace typical heavy body armors used in the military today. Experts says that it can reduce the weight of armor by up to 20% but increase the ability to stop bullets from going through the armor to a great extent. The material can also be used in space exploration and transporting nuclear waste since it is quite effective at blocking heat.
An earlier study from the same researcher also demonstrated that composite metal foams can withstand extremely high temperatures and can protect from fire and heat twice as better as traditional metal.
“The presence of air pockets inside CMF make it so effective at blocking heat mainly because heat travels more slowly through air than through metal.” Rabiei said.
The metal foam consists of metallic pores made of a combination of materials such as carbon, steel, stainless steel or titanium.
Composite metal foams were not well understood in the past. But recent experiments and researchers are revealing their true worth and they could become an integral part of different fields in future.