Researchers Develop Composite Metal Foam That Turns Bullets Into Dust on Impact

Posted on April 11, 2016

Afsaneh Rabiei holding composite metal foam

Researchers from NC State have developed a composite metal foam that turns armor-piercing bullets into dust on impact. The researchers say the foam is lighter than metal plating and could be used for products like body armor and bullet proof vehicles.

The video below shows composite armor made out of the composite metal foam developed by Afsaneh Rabiei, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NC State. The video shows a bullet being fired into the armor. The bullet is a 7.62 x 63 millimeter M2 armor piercing projectile.



Rabiei says in the announcement, "We could stop the bullet at a total thickness of less than an inch, while the indentation on the back was less than 8 millimeters. To put that in context, the NIJ standard allows up to 44 millimeters indentation in the back of an armor."

A research paper on the armor published last year in Composite Structures says it uses boron carbide ceramics as the strike face, composite metal foam processed by powder metallurgy technique as the bullet kinetic energy absorber interlayer and aluminum 7075 or Kevlar panels as backplates. The total thickness is less than 25 mm.

Photo: NC State