Microbullets Test Material Strength for Military & Aerospace
It's easy to see what happens when a bullet hits an object, but researchers at Rice University and MIT (and its Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies) wanted to know what happens at the nanoscale - with microbullets. The researchers were inspired by their observations in macroscopic ballistic tests in which a complex multiblock copolymer polyurethane material was able to not only stop a 9-mm bullet, but also seal the entryway behind it. The research team created nanoscale target materials, microscale ammo, and even the method for firing them. The team's main goal is to find ways to make materials more impervious to deformation or failure for stronger and lighter body armor, jet engine turbine blades for aircraft, and for cladding to protect spacecraft and satellites from micrometeorites and space junk.