Materials

Formula Strengthens Body Armor Against High-Speed Impacts

Current body armor does not protect against all high-speed impacts. Boron carbide is a synthetic material that ranks second below another synthetic material called cubic boron nitride for hardness. However, boron carbide is easier to produce on a large scale. Boron carbide is also harder and lighter than other armor materials like silicon carbide, making it an ideal choice for protective gear, especially ballistic vests. Boron carbide’s main shortcoming is that it can damage very quickly upon high-velocity impact. Now, researchers at Texas A&M University  have developed a process that can prevent weaknesses in body armor. By adding a tiny amount of the element silicon to boron carbide, they discovered that bullet-resistant gear could be made significantly more resilient to high-speed impacts.