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Completely Bulletproof?Ruby S. AmyeenStoller Middle School1-31-2018AbstractToday’s bulletproof armor isn’t really bulletproof. When a bullet hits the armor it penetrates through layers of kevlar causing many layers of kevlar to be used for one bulletproof vest. In order to create more effective armor, we need to have a good grasp on materials and patterns used in ballistic-resistant and stab-resistant armor. Another issue with bulletproof armor is that it should be more comfortable for women in particular. Furthermore, having better understanding on the impact of body armor to somebody’s body temperature in real world situations. Ballistic-resistant and stab-resistant armor for the military should be more effective since, bullets and knives are a dangerous threat to the military.Completely Bulletproof?Bullets are one of the most dangerous threats the military is facing today. The total amount of Americans killed in all U.S wars is more than 1.1 million! That’s the population of San Jose, California! According to NOVA (2013), even when wearing kevlar bulletproof vests, getting shot still causes a bruise. Furthermore, bulletproof vests aren’t stab-proof- not even bulletproof.  Body armor, particularly bulletproof vests are essential gear the military needs. How can we make armor more effective for the military while being aware of the material and design patterns of the armor? Let’s dig deeper into the world of machinery.There are 2 main types of armor: stab-resistant armor and ballistic-resistant armor. Ballistic-resistant armor are soft, this allows the armor to protect against handgun bullets. Ballistic-resistant armor that is less flexible, hard and soft are used to protect against rifle bullets. Stab-resistant armor is used to protect against spikes and knives. Some manufacturers make armor, stab-resistant and bullet-resistant. Ballistic-resistant armor is more for law enforcement officers in the US. However, in other countries law enforcement officers use armor that is stab-resistant and ballistic-resistant. While stab-resistant armor is used more for correctional officers around the world.Bulletproof armor is available in our modern world- but how effective is it really? Currently, bulletproof armor is made out of kevlar. Kevlar bulletproof armor isn’t very effective because of the amount of layers needed of kevlar to protect someone from a bullet. For instance, The type of material is very important when producing armor. Carbon/Carbon Composite is very strong carbon fibers with a very strong carbon matrix. There are distinct types of composite. (Melissa Salpietra, 2010, para. 7). Based on how the fibers go in correlation to the matrix can result in different properties. Carbon/Carbon Composite can resist a lot of tension. (Melissa Salpietra, 2010, para. 7). Carbon/Carbon Composite can absorb a lot of force, this is an example of toughness. This material could be useful for aerospace things in particular. (Melissa Salpietra, 2010, para. 7) Carbon/Carbon Composite is a strong material but it is more useful for aerospace products. Is there a material that can be used for a bulletproof vest?Bulletproof vests can be made out of graphene. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are able to print graphene. Graphene conducts electricity efficiently and is nearly transparent. Graphene is 5% the density of steel. (Lucas Mearian, 2017, para. 1, 3, 7). Graphene is 200x the strength of steel and a fraction of the weight. Graphene costs $100 per gram. (The University of Manchester, n.d, para. 3). Graphene is assembled out of carbon atoms, which are arranged in a chicken wire pattern. Additionally, graphene is one atom thick. (Melissa Salpietra, 2010, para. 3). Graphene is one of the many materials that can be used to produce armor. But there’s one worry, graphene is very expensive. That’s the reason why I must find an alternative for graphene.One alternative to graphene is silicon carbide. Silicon carbide is found in meteorites in small numbers. But manufacturers have been able to produce it commercially. Silicon carbide is as hard as diamond and tougher than diamond. (Melissa Salpietra, 2010, para. 6). This material is used in sandpaper. The Chobham armor used for battle tanks, the base is made out of silicon carbide. (Melissa Salpietra, 2010, para. 8). An example of the strength of this armor would be in Operation Desert Storm when not a single British Challenger tank was destroyed. (Melissa Salpietra, 2010, para. 6). The only problem with this material is that it isn’t very flexible. What material is flexible, lightweight and tough?One alternative for silicon carbide is spectra fiber. Polyethylene molecules produced into fibers is spectra fiber. Polyethylene molecules are very long and stretch out alongside each other, they’re bonded very tightly. (Melissa Salpietra, 2010, para. 5). Spectra fiber is lightweight. Spectra fiber is a tough thread that can stand a lot of tension. (Melissa Salpietra, 2010, para. 5). Spectra fiber is 5 times stronger than steel considering the weight to weight ratio. This material is used for bulletproof vests and high-tech sports gear. (Melissa Salpietra, 2010, para. 5). Spectra fiber is a lightweight, strong material for armor.Materials can have a lot of impact on armor but patterns can too. Many animals in the world defend themselves with their own natural armor and many include patterns. Pangolins are flexible creatures that can roll up into a ball when a predator is attacking. Pangolins have an overlapping hexagonal pattern around a central scale. This ensures safety, the pangolin is fully covered when moving. (Cordelia Sealy, 2016, para. 1, 6). The hexagonal pattern allows the scales to slide over one another, this makes the armor more flexible, it also improves the fracture toughness. (Cordelia Sealy, 2016, para. 4, 6). This arrangement also makes the pangolin’s armor very hard to crack. (Cordelia Sealy, 2016, para. 5). Animals have incredible abilities that can be incorporated into things people use in our modern world to make things better. Another animal that is very incredible is the spider, particularly their silk. Spider silk is lightweight, tough, very stretchy and flexible. (Melissa Salpietra, 2010, para. 6). Spider silk can resist a lot of pull and has high tensile strength. Particularly Darwin’s bark spider of Madagascar. (Melissa Salpietra, 2010, para. 6). Darwin’s bark spider of Madagascar builds the largest webs known and produces silk 2 times stronger than other spiders. It also has the highest tensile strength and toughness ever. (Melissa Salpietra, 2010, para. 6). Though spiders are incredible but their silk is extremely hard to produce.Bulletproof armor isn’t always effective. Materials used can have a massive impact on armor. Graphene is a lightweight, strong and flexible material, but it’s expensive. Spectra fiber and Carbon/Carbon Composite is also lightweight, strong but not as strong or flexible as graphene. Furthermore, Carbon/Carbon Composite is in particular used for aerospace technologies. Animals have effective natural armor. The different design patterns have a substantial effect on the toughness of the armor.  This research can be used to come up with more effective armor for the military in particular.ReferencesWetzel, E. D., & Wagner, N. J. (2003, January). Advanced Body Armor Utilizing Advanced Body Armor Utilizing Shear Thickening Fluids Shear Thickening Fluids. Retrieved January 10, 2018, from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Norman_Wagner3/publication/228488787_Advanced_body_armor_utilizing_shear_thickening_fluids/links/542bc73f0cf277d58e8a34b7/Advanced-body-armor-utilizing-shear-thickenng-fluids.pdf(n.d.). Retrieved January 10, 2018, from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/making-stuff.html#making-stuff-strongerMearian, L. (2017, January 09). MIT creates 3D printed graphene that’s lighter than air, 10X stronger than steel. Retrieved January 10, 2018, from https://www.computerworld.com/article/3155102/emerging-technology/mit-creates-3d-printed-graphene-thats-lighter-than-air-10x-stronger-than-steel.htmlA. (n.d.). Kevlar® AP | DuPont USA. Retrieved January 10, 2018, from http://www.dupont.com/products-and-services/fabrics-fibers-nonwovens/fibers/brands/kevlar/products/kevlar-ap.htmlIt’s all in the scale: pangolins inspire flexible armor. (2017, April 13). Retrieved January 10, 2018, from https://www.materialstoday.com/biomaterials/news/pangolins-inspire-flexible-armor/Kids, P. (n.d.). Retrieved January 12, 2018, from http://pbskids.org/video/wild-kratts/2365816860Lambert, R. J. (n.d.). What can graphene do? | The University of Manchester. Retrieved January 23, 2018, from http://www.graphene.manchester.ac.uk/explore/what-can-graphene-do/Salpietra, M. (2010, November 24). The World’s Strongest Stuff. Retrieved January 16, 2018,  from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/strong-materials.htmlBody Armor. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2018, from https://www.nij.gov/topics/technology/body-armor/Pages/welcome.aspx


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