Ceramics for the protection of lives

By the beginning of the 70s of the last century in the military around the world formed a need for new means of protection of personnel and equipment from existing and promising means of destruction. One of the types of protection that could improve the situation, there was a clay armor. Such materials have a great hardness, if a large part of the metals that can be used to protect personnel and equipment. At the same time, the pottery had a number of shortcomings. Because in the field of clay armor began to study different materials and types.

A clay bar before testing. Photos of "Institute of Steel"
A clay bar after the tests. Photos of "Institute of Steel"
Clay plate is removed. Photos of "Institute of Steel"

According to the test results more applicable for use in the reservation were found corundum, silicon carbide grade karbidobornye and ceramics. Specifically, they have been applied for the first Russian remedies with clay elements. By the mid-'80s was established mass production of bullet-proof vests F-86 "Beehive" in what used clay tiles made of boron carbide. Some of these series of body armor, because of the different technological aspects of production, hitherto listed as exemplary means of personal protection. With all this we can not mention one unpleasant feature of body armor based on the clay tiles. After contact with the last bullet destroyed than sucking energy bullets. In the case of a single hit that was enough, but the second hit the filler body armor bursting to such an extent that it happened at least a tangible decrease in the level of protection. Moreover, under certain circumstances could vest become absolutely worthless.

By the time of the emergence of "Hives" based karbidobornoy ceramic work on a similar armor were in the main direction of personal protective equipment. The fact that the heaviest booking technology, for example, the tanks must withstand enormous loads on the orders, if body armor fighter. Corundum and silicon carbide ceramics class this task manageable, but scientists have already Steel Research Institute in the early 80's began to falter in the prospects for such protection. Because design additional modules for tanks reservation did not go further experimental work. In addition, while a far more promising means of additional protection of the tank was considered a dynamic system of protection, which was made the main focus. Since that time, the development of a clay reservation is not quick, but so formidable nineties could not affect the success of engineers.

Yet, over the years, leading companies within the industry were able to maintain their own experience and use it in the development of new technologies. Make out the merits Institute of Steel. One of the latest developments of this organization is a composite armor on the basis of ceramics and polymers. The essence of this know-how is in the making of the "sandwich" of karbidoborovyh types of ceramics (it produces Sarov VNIIEF) and high-cellophane (CVTs "Technology"). Such a solution to make composite sheets providing protection class 6a (7.62-mm armor-piercing incendiary bullet B-32) with the weight of about 36-38 kilograms per square meter. In addition, based on this technology could make a different kind of reservations, which are used in silicon carbide and ultra high molecular weight plastic sheeting. When defending a class-level 6a such a structure weighs in the range of 39-40 kg per square meter. Both of these protective structures have advantages over corundum and iron. At first, they win a title. For comparison, a square meter of corundum broneplitki will weigh 45-50 kg. Second advantage — the firm and, consequently, the best level of protection and the necessities of the smallest thickness. But for light weight and a higher hardness will pay in the truest sense of the word. Ceramic and plastic protective structure is even more armor steel or clay tiles an old design. In addition, the "inherited" from an old clay armor new multilayer structures were comparable fragility and low vitality. They like before losing its characteristics after hitting a bullet / projectile and not subject to any repairs.

In fact, the increase survivability of protective structures at the present time is one of the main goals of scientists and engineers around the world. At the moment, the result to be achieved, is to ensure survivability of protection, at least, with one hit per square decimeter square. To do this, do not continuous protection, and typesetting of a large number of small tiles. Due to this the destruction of one tile does not lead to disabling all the armor panels. In the Institute of Steel has significantly closer to the benchmark, although the latest development still can not compete with them. 5-7 decimeters square ceramic-polymer structure made at the Research Institute of Steel can withstand at least 2-shots from a gun, the respective calculated level of protection. In the future, members of the Institute wish to bring the vitality of their own development up to 3 hits per square decimeter.

Besides the development of specific remedies Steel Research Institute is developing methods of testing and evaluation features. Staff Research Institute, one of the first in the world to have introduced the practice of numerical evaluation of the characteristics of penetration of bullets in the armor panels and its movement inside the defense. These unique techniques can not only find out the properties of the material or the other, and create a more profound comparison of their performance. This comparison makes it possible to identify what or severe prepyadstviya protective structure in the early stages and do not let them evolve to a state of severe intractable "disease."

One of the most promising methods for improving the level of protection of multilayer structures is the introduction of a clay dispersion systems. Because of its own dimensions and mass characteristics of dispersion-ceramic protection structures are more comfortable for the introduction to a variety of techniques. The creation of such reservation in our country is engaged in Research and Production Center "Alloy". The exposed samples of disperse systems of the center consists of 3 layers — a decorative, blunt and retarding. First and third layers are made as flat plates, or parts of the respective shape. The average layer (Mace) is composed of a large number of small cylinders or prisms, hexagonal cross-section. Their diameter is in the range of 13-30 mm, and rounded ends are made. The form of cylinders / prisms crushing layer is designed in such a Makarov, that munition respective reasoned level of protection in a collision with them was destroyed by the appearance of longitudinal and transverse stresses. However, the cylinders themselves under attack bullet or projectile is also destroyed. The work of dispersion-ceramic structure looks follow this: when hit by a bullet or shell armor plates loses some of its own energy, wasting it on the penetration of the decor
ative layer. Configuration of its material can seriously affect the level protection. After overcoming the top layer of ammunition faced with cylinders or prisms crushing layer and spends almost all of the remaining energy to destroy them, and in addition, he is crushed into pieces. The remains of the bullets stop domestic backsheet. Separately, it should be noted that the elements of the middle layer may be not only simply inserted between the first layer and the third in the "tight formation", and joined together young polymeric webs. In this case, the efficiency armor panels increases energy expenditure by bullets displacement cylinders. Elastic layer by fixed-crushing "eat" more energy weapon.

The idea of dispersion-ceramic reservation excluding the rest of the exciting fact that a similar approach can achieve certain benefits not only to the classical iron armor, and before ceramic. Dispersion-ceramic panels are cheaper to produce, easier in terms of technology, and most importantly — possess greater survivability. Such security structures have the characteristics of the allowable number of hits per unit area at the level of the steel. In the end, the broken elements of crushing layer can be relatively quickly and easily removed and changed with new ones. Such as repair can be carried out with the other layers, then the armor panels will again be applicable to the operation. With regard to weight characteristics, the dispersion armor at a similar level of protection in the two and a redundant times lighter than metal.

SPC "Alloy" brought to readiness for series production dispersed panel of the 6th grade of protection. This armor is designed for installation on vehicles and aircraft. Technologies allow to produce armor panels up to 1200×1000 mm. Moreover, in some completions equipment manufacturing sheet size can be increased up to 2-3 meters. When using decorative and blunt layer made of ceramic, and 8-mm dural retarding layer is a protective structure weighs less than 60 kg per square meter. Experimental samples of armor panels, including large area when test firing maintained mnogokalibernyh bullets hit as 12.7 and 14.5 mm and 30 mm cannon shells. Naturally, for the protection of the last panel must be of immense thickness, a huge mass, etc.

As we see, segodnyaschy clay armor has good defensive stats. At the same time, the development of technologies and materials is not static. Specialists in the field of clay armor believe that the main focus in the future should be paid to specific materials. The main problem in a clay material for the fact that armor panels have a non-uniform level of protection — to the edge they are less resistant to hit. Because, that is, at the moment you can not equip any car only a clay panels. In this case, it becomes necessary to strengthen the edges of the panels and their compounds. As a consequence, it is necessary to introduce additional security features that, in the end, "presents" all the disadvantages of ceramic design, but all this does not give significant weight gain in the armor. In addition, in the current time of pressing the direction of armored cars are resistant to erosion of mines and small arms fire from guns. This technique is designated English term MRAP. Armored cars on similar clay armor can only provide protection against bullets. As for reducing the effects of an explosion, then there corundum or carbides do not provide the required protection: under the influence of the shock they crumble, then are not able to hold up the pieces.

Also it is necessary to develop the direction of composite protective structures. For example, the panel members reservation silicon carbide are sufficiently effective against small-caliber armor-piercing projectile guns, including a core based on tungsten. When a similar resistance to such munitions silicon carbide panels have almost a quarter of the smallest weight than iron. In addition, a substantial increase in the level of protection can be applied in the dispersion system.

In general, it is possible with the measured conscience admit that the Russian branch of the development and production of clay body armor is not a bad past and good potential. At the same time, municipal support research activities do not exactly hurt the development of the technology. Naturally, ceramic booking has its drawbacks, which do not allow to make of it something universal and owns only pluses. Despite this, the ceramic booking in the coming years for sure is one of the main areas to protect personnel and equipment.

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