Scientists from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) have devised an ultra-hard vehicle armour to protect military personnel.
Details of the steel armour, called Super Bainite, were outlined during a seminar at the University of Cambridge.
Unexpectedly, the MoD team has given the armour a protective advantage by introducing holes into it.
According to scientist Professor Peter Brown, these perforations help deflect incoming projectiles.
“I wouldn’t like to have been the first person to have suggested that,” said Professor Brown, from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down in Wiltshire.
He explained: “You shouldn’t think of them as holes, you should think of them as edges. When a bullet hits an edge, it gets deflected, and turns from a sharp projectile into a blunt fragment – which is much easier to stop. It doubles the ballistic performance and halves the weight.” …
An industrial process called “Kolsterising” (developed by the firm Bodycote) is able to increase the surface hardness of stainless steel to twice that of Super Bainite while maintaining its ductility – the extent to which a material can be bent, or deformed, without fracturing.
“It’s as hard as a ceramic and as ductile as a metal. It re-defines, really, what steel is capable of,” he said. …