A manufacturer in Arizona says he's developed a ballistic plate formua that uses an alloy of aluminum and carbon nanotubes to build armor plates strong enough to protect against multiple high-caliber hits -- including .50 cal ammo.
According to the Arizona Daily Star, John Bourque, the CEO of Bourque Industries has developed a material called Kryron that can be used as armor for vehicles and personal plates.
Working with local companies, including nanotube vendorIMER Corp., Bourque initially began experimenting with different alloys to develop highly conductive, corrosion-resistant anodes for an electrical copper-extraction process called electrowinning.
Realizing the strength the Kryron process could bring to metals, he focused on developing an aluminum alloy for body armor. He came up with armor using Kryronized aluminum as a lightweight core, with layers of ballistic fabric to help catch bullet fragments.
Bourque initially wanted to license the technology to a major armor maker, such as BAE Systems, and focus his efforts on developing mining and electrical products.
Our friends over at Defense Review have a more detailed writeup on the armor, outlining some pretty impressive stats.
According to a company press release, a Kryron Terminator ballistic armor plate (hard armor plate) showed some impressive multi-hit capability when “a Terminator Fat Boy plate was shot multiple times with .50 caliber AP ammunition and .30 caliber AP ammunition, then reversed and shot with the same rounds again, with no penetration, ricochet, shatter or spall.” And, that’s not all. A Kryron Terminator Thin Line plate “sustained several dozen rounds of 9mm machine gun fire at exceptionally close range with no penetration, ricochet, shatter or spall.”I'm not sure that there's a lot of there there. First, there's no indication of what the weight would be, how much it would cost to manufacture and we'd obviously need to see a ballistics report from an HP White or US Labs before we're sold. And this smacks a little bit of "Mad Scientist Invents Cold Fusion"...
But, the use of carbon nanotubes is a known way to increase strength while decreasing weight -- and can be used for armor applications. Up until a few years ago, though, the manufacturing costs have been too high to make it a viable armor option. While this seems promising, we're going to remain skeptical until we see some hard data.