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Science & Technology

'Metal foam' obliterates bullets on impact

By T.K. Randall
April 7, 2016 · Comment icon 14 comments

Metal foam is definitely more than meets the eye. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Metalfoam
A lightweight, porous metallic material could pave the way for extremely effective bulletproof armor.
Composite metal foam (CMF) is a highly porous, ultralight material consisting of a solid metal, such as aluminium, as well as a large volume percentage of gas-filled pores.

Existing applications for this material range from improving the structural integrity of buildings to the development of experimental animal prosthetics, but now researchers at North Carolina State University have found a completely new and unexpected use for it - stopping bullets.

During a recent series of experiments, the team discovered that a single 1-inch thick layer of CMF doesn't just stop an armor-piecing round - it causes the bullet to completely disintegrate on impact.
The indentation on the back of the foam, which according to the US National Institute of Justice must be less than 44mm in bulletproof body armor, was determined to be a paltry 8mm.

On top of its obvious use in bulletproof vests, the material is even capable of shielding against several types of harmful radiation and can also protect against high temperatures.

This is one type of material that we are likely to be seeing a lot more of in the near future.

Source: Sky News | Comments (14)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by Wickian 8 years ago
I guess shrapnel to the jawline is preferred over a hole in your torso.
Comment icon #6 Posted by AustinHinton 8 years ago
So...its aeriated metal? First chocolate, now this.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Infernal Gnu 8 years ago
Yep, the human terminating robots arriving soon will be using this metal foam against us.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Gingitsune 8 years ago
I guess shrapnel to the jawline is preferred over a hole in your torso. I thought the same. Maybe if they put a sturdy fabric on the outside, the bullet splinter like glass.
Comment icon #9 Posted by danielost 8 years ago
stiff armor means stiff joints.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Merc14 8 years ago
If this isn't one of those "in 10 years it may be ready for market introduction" products and is actually here now and affordable to produce then I can imagine the burgeoning space travel companies like SpaceX would be very interested. The article doesn't mention the downsides so I am holding back on the enthusiastic response for now.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Dmay 8 years ago
They mention "armour piercing" bullet in the article, but I am relatively certain the video is a "cup & core" jacketed lead bullet. The penetrator in an AP would not "splatter" like that. Of course, this is not to say that it wouldn't stop an AP, but I would like to see....
Comment icon #12 Posted by third_eye 8 years ago
THings being what they are someone somewhere will find something that will trump this one way or another ... Science being Scientific and all ... nothing is infallible ~
Comment icon #13 Posted by WoIverine 8 years ago
Wonder how it holds up against heat. Pretty awesome video though!
Comment icon #14 Posted by Lucas Cooper Merrin 8 years ago
Checkmate Skip to 4:40 for the good stuff

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