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Naval Research Lab Patents Thermoplastic Elastomer Armor

A team of Naval Research Laboratory chemists has produced and patented a transparent thermoplastic elastomer armor designed to offer the same ballistic properties of bullet-resistant glass at a reduced weight.

NRL said Wednesday its research chemists used various techniques to develop a new material that could recreate ballistic properties of polyurea and polyisobutylene coatings lighter than traditional bullet-resistant glasses.

The thermoplastic elastomers have been physically converted through a reversible solidification process that alsow works to repair armored surface damage.

“Heating the material above the softening point, around 100 degrees Celsius, melts the small crystallites, enabling the fracture surfaces to meld together and reform via diffusion,” said Mike Roland, senior scientist at NRL’s soft matter physics division.

Roland added the dissipative properties of the elastomer can offer multi-hit protection against projectile strikes.

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