High molecular weight polyethylene — a revolution in the means of body armor

High molecular weight polyethylene - a revolution in the means of body armor
High molecular weight plastic sheeting as new armor material now actual cally makes a similar revolution in the means of body armor, as once made of Kevlar — Representative chemical aramid fibers, has come to replace the synthetic nylon. This material has advantages over aramids, not only in ballistic performance, and on the cost parameters and operational requirements (not «afraid» of water, etc.).

Currently, the high plastic sheeting is widely used in bullet-proof vests, armor vehicles, ships, planes. Developers are trying to use this material for head protection.

Back in 2007, commissioned by the Marine Corps (ILC) of the United States a number of American companies began to develop promising helmet UST (Enhanced Combat Helmet) of high-cellophane. He had to change the Kevlar helmet ACH. It was planned that the new product will be able to provide a higher-proof (35%) and bulletproof protection. Allocated for the development of more than 10 million dollars. In 2010, the high hat of cellophane had to issue a test batch of about 240 000. But tests revealed a number of problems helmets, due to which the product hitherto not available to the troops.

Samples were applied to produce high molecular weight plastic sheeting bulletproof helmets were made in Russia. About 4-5 years ago in Dubna in Dutch manufacturing equipment planned to deploy the creation of plastic helmets for the Interior Ministry. Experimental highest standards demonstrated quite properties, but to production of these helmets have never reached.

According views zabugornyh researchers, the high cellophane is not recommended very deform during compaction. By pressing the flat portions or portions with a small curvature properties of the material is substantially higher than in production of complex-shaped parts of the protection, for example, a helmet.

Developers Research Institute found steel and other «surprises» promising material. The study of high-armor plates cellophane spetsy «Steel Research Institute» found that at speeds of 300-400 m / c ordinary machine gun bullet pierces armor plates 3 standard GOST class. In other words, during the shelling from a distance of 10 m, when the velocity is 720-790 m / s, the panel is not guaranteed breaks and meets state standards. But from a distance of 300 m, when the speed of the bullet drops, the panel breaks.

This paradox is explained a significant impact on the rate of penetration of the mechanism of penetration and, as a consequence, the final result. (See picture 1.2)

High molecular weight polyethylene - a revolution in the means of body armor
Picture 1. Standard armor plates 3 protection class according to GOST R 507844 of high-cellophane not penetrated by a bullet automaton PS-43 with 10 m can be seen that the bullet at high speed interaction and stops the backs deformed layers.
Source: Research Institute of Steel

High molecular weight polyethylene - a revolution in the means of body armor
Photo 2. This same panel, shelled with 300m punctured. It is seen that at low speeds interaction (398 m / s) there is no deformation of the bullet, and it just pierces the protective structure.
Source: Research Institute of Steel

Unlike iron armor cellophane completely insensitive to the corners of the interaction. This means that it is actually similar resistance when hit or bullet fragments as normal to the barrier, and under bolshennymi angles. For metal, titanium or duralumin resistance armor protection, as we know, increases in proportion to increase interaction angle.

Besides difficulties in obtaining a measured ballistic hell, cellophane initially had difficulties with ensuring the necessary level zapregradnoy injury. This is especially topical for helmets. Unlike body armor, helmet touch protective structure to the head when hit by a bullet or fragment is not allowed. To reduce the level of injury zapregradnoy, need to increase the thickness of the protective structure. Estimated professionals «Steel Research Institute,» an increasing thickness of the protective helmet composition may be 50% or more of the required to provide ballistic. This leads to increased size, weight and price of the helmet. Ultimately, the high hat of cellophane becomes a par with Aramid helmet both protective and on weight and value characteristics.

Many developers, including zabugornye specifically for this reason to postpone the establishment of helmets cellophane indefinitely, although studies of this material in relation to helmets last.

In the field of protective structures for body armor and armored vehicles the high cellophane already paved for himself a firm and reliable way, but for the introduction of this material in the field of head protection will need a lot of research.

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