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boron body armor is a key component of the military’s arsenal for protecting soldiers, and it’s one of the world’s strongest. However, it also has a weakness that piqued the interest of Georgia Tech researcher Robert Speyer five years ago.

The problem is that the material is prone to phase transformations, which can weaken it when it’s hit by a high-speed projectile. The process causes boron carbide to change from a crystalline state into a glassy state, which means that it’s not as tough as it could be when it’s hit by a bullet.

This can weaken the armor’s integrity, especially if it’s not properly protected by another layer of armor like a soft vest or a hard plate. So Speyer, who works with a start-up company called Verco, set out to make armor that would withstand more impact from high-speed bullets while remaining as tough as a steel plate.

By adding a tiny amount of silicon, he found that he could dramatically strengthen the boron carbide’s resistance to phase transformations from high-speed projectiles. This is a big step toward improving the durability of bullet-resistant gear, which is a critical part of the military’s arsenal for protecting its personnel.

By using a new boron carbide formation process, he can create complicated, curved shapes that are easier to fabricate than traditional hard plates and can withstand more impact from high-speed bullets. The material can also be made much harder and more resistant to abrasion, he says.

    By admin