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Carbon Fibre - Super-strong body armour in sight

Discussion in 'Education & Research' started by Manmohan Yadav, Jun 24, 2012.

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  1. Manmohan Yadav

    Manmohan Yadav Brigadier STAR MEMBER

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    A new type of carbon fibre, developed at the University of Cambridge, could be woven into super-strong body armour for the military and law enforcement.

    The researchers say their material is already several times stronger, tougher and stiffer than fibres currently used to make protective armour.

    The lightweight fibre, made up of millions of tiny carbon nanotubes, is starting to reveal exciting properties.

    Carbon nanotubes are hollow cylinders of carbon just one atom thick.

    [​IMG]

    The new material was developed by a group at the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy at Cambridge.

    It has emerged from efforts to create the world's strongest man-made fibre.

    "These nanotube fibres possess characteristics which enable them to be woven as a cloth, or incorporated into composite materials to produce super-strong products," said Professor Windle.
    For body armour, the strength of fibres in a fabric is a critical parameter. Strain-to-failure - in other words how much the material can extend before it breaks - is another.

    The fibre created in Cambridge is very strong, lightweight and good at absorbing energy in the form of fragments travelling at very high velocity.

    "Our fibre is up there with the existing high performance fibres such as Kevlar", said Professor Windle.
    But he added: "We've seen bits that are much better than Kevlar in all respects".

    The work at Cambridge has already attracted interest from the UK Ministry of Defence and the US Army.

    But the new material could also find applications in the area of hi-tech "smart" clothing, bomb-proof refuse bins, flexible solar panels, and, eventually, as a replacement for copper wire in transmitting electrical power and signals.

    The method for making the fibre is simple but ingenious.

    [​IMG]

    Made by folding over layers of graphite so they join at each end, forming a cylinder

    Measure just a few billionths of a metre across

    When pulled along their axes, are 5-10 times stronger than strongest known fibre

    Can have single walls or multiple walls


    'Elastic smoke'

    A hydrocarbon feedstock, such as ethanol, is injected into the furnace along with a small amount of iron-based catalyst.

    Inside the furnace, this feedstock is broken down into hydrogen and carbon. The carbon is then chemically "re-built" on particles of iron catalyst as long, thin-walled nanotubes.

    "It makes particles of carbon that are like smoke. But because the nanotubes are entangled, the smoke we make is elastic," explains Professor Windle.
    To the eye, this "elastic smoke" looks a bit like an ever-expanding dark "sock".

    To begin winding it up, a rod is inserted into the furnace from below to grab one end of the sock and yank it down. This stretches the sock into a filament that can be wound up continuously on a reel.

    The researchers are currently seeking funds to investigate whether the method can be upgraded from a laboratory to an industrial process.

    Cambridge Enterprise Limited, the commercialisation office of the University of Cambridge, filed an initial patent application in July 2003.

    It has now granted a licence to Q-Flo Limited, a university spin-out company, which will exploit the technology.

    Nanotubes are graphite which is - along with diamond - one of two common forms carbon takes in nature. In graphite, carbon atoms are bonded in hexagonal structures to form flat layers that are stacked on top of one another like sheets of paper.

    When they make nanotubes, scientists are essentially taking individual graphite layers and folding them over so they join at either edge to form cylinders.
     
  2. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    This is a very good tech development of Nano Tech. Carbon Fibers are very strong and light. We have our cars made of carbon fiber to reduce the weight and for more durability. Elasticity was something which has been pondered upon for the use of the light weight armor for the soldiers. Do we have any R&D in India on body armor.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012
  3. Skull and Bones

    Skull and Bones Doctor Death Staff Member MODERATOR

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    Wrong statement.

    Carbon nanotubes are formed by rolling graphene sheets which has a width of more than one carbon atom, or somewhat equal. Then how can carbon nanotubes has one atom level of thickness? :YUNO:
     
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  4. G777

    G777 Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Interesting. I know this Carbon Fiber will be different to the ones that is on my planes. The Carbon Fiber I use I found wouldn't be useful for stopping a bullet unless it was thick.
     
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  5. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    Wise men think alile.
    I know whats in your mind? Yes it will change the way we make planes if it can be created in very large amounts very cheaply. Imagine the effect of this tech on overall ac weight.
     
  6. Himanshu Pandey

    Himanshu Pandey Don't get mad, get even. STAR MEMBER

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    Great effort but need to understand more as nano technology is alien to me... soo may somebody help me
     
  7. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    Well layman is no vice in nano either… :undecided:
     
  8. Skull and Bones

    Skull and Bones Doctor Death Staff Member MODERATOR

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    They call me superman! I'm here to rescue you. :mrgreen:
     
  9. Himanshu Pandey

    Himanshu Pandey Don't get mad, get even. STAR MEMBER

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    then rescue me with telling the details not by showing Colgate teeth:smoking1::mrgreen:
     
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