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Date: 29 July 2014
Researcher bounce bullets without a trace of damage using carbon nanotechnology  


Topic Name: Researcher bounce bullets without a trace of damage using carbon nanotechnology
Category: Nanobiotechnology
    
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Research persons: Centre for Advanced Materials Technology team

Location: Centre for Advanced Materials Technology, University of Sydney, Australia

Details

Researcher bounce bullets without a trace of damage using carbon nanotechnology

Bulletproof jackets do not turn security guards, police officers and armed forces into Robocops, repelling the force of bullets in their stride. New research in carbon nanotechnology however could give those in the line of fire materials which can bounce bullets without a trace of damage.

A
research paper published in the Institute of
Physics
’ Nanotechnology details how engineers from the Centre
for Advanced Materials Technology
at the University of Sydney have found a
way to use the elasticity of carbon nanotubes to not only stop bullets
penetrating material but actually rebound their force.

Most anti-ballistic materials, like bullet-proof jackets and explosion-proof blankets, are currently made of multiple layers of Kevlar, Twaron or Dyneema fibres which stop bullets from penetrating by spreading the bullet’s force. Targets can still be left suffering blunt force trauma - perhaps severe bruising or, worse, damage to critical organs.

The elasticity of carbon nanotubes means that blunt force trauma may be avoided and that’s why the engineers in Sydney have undertaken experiments to find the optimum point of elasticity for the most effective bullet-bouncing gear.

Note
for Carbon nanotubes

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are allotropes of carbon. A single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) is a one-atom thick sheet of graphite (called graphene) rolled up into a seamless cylinder with diameter on the order of a nanometer. This results in a nanostructure where the length-to-diameter ratio exceeds 10,000. Such cylindrical carbon molecules have novel properties that make them potentially useful in many applications in nanotechnology, electronics, optics and other fields of materials science. They exhibit extraordinary strength and unique electrical properties, and are efficient conductors of heat. Inorganic nanotubes have also been synthesized.

Nanotubes are members of the fullerene structural family, which also includes buckyballs. Whereas buckyballs are spherical in shape, a nanotube is cylindrical, with at least one end typically capped with a hemisphere of the buckyball structure. Their name is derived from their size, since the diameter of a nanotube is in the order of a few nanometers (approximately 50,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair), while they can be up to several millimeters in length. There are two main types of nanotubes: single-walled nanotubes (SWNTs) and multi-walled nanotubes (MWNTs).

The nature of the bonding of a nanotube is described by applied quantum chemistry, specifically, orbital hybridization. The chemical bonding of nanotubes are composed entirely of sp2 bonds, similar to those of graphite. This bonding structure, which is stronger than the sp3 bonds found in diamond, provides the molecules with their unique strength. Nanotubes naturally align themselves into "ropes" held together by Van der Waals forces. Under high pressure, nanotubes can merge together, trading some sp² bonds for sp³ bonds, giving great possibility for producing strong, unlimited-length wires through high-pressure nanotube linking.

Note
for Bulletproof

A material or object described as bulletproof is capable of stopping a bullet or similar high velocity missile. The term bullet resistant is often preferred since few, if any, practical materials provide complete protection against all types of bullets or multiple hits in the same location.

Such materials are usually rigid, but may be supple. They may be complex, such as Kevlar, Lexan, and carbon fiber composite materials, or they may be basic and simple, such as steel or titanium. Bullet resistant materials are often used in law enforcement and military applications, saving a number of lives.

There are strict tests which are used to classify bullet resistance, and which specify the detailed characteristics of bullets that the material or object must be resistant to. For example, the United States National Institute of Justice standard 0104.04[1] for bullet-resistant vests specifies that a Type II vest must not deform clay representing the wearer's body when hit by an 8.0 g (124 gr) 9 mm caliber round nosed full-metal jacket bullet travelling at up to 358 m/s (1175 ft/s); but a Type IIIA vest is needed for protection against the same bullet travelling at up to 427 m/s (1400 ft/s). In both cases, the vest is not required to protect against a second hit within 51 mm (2 inches) of the first.

About Centre for Advanced Materials Technology

The Centre for Advanced Materials Technology (CAMT) was established in 1989 at the University of Sydney, Australia. The aims of CAMT are to conduct high quality fundamental research in materials science and technology and to promote collaboration with industry in the design, engineering, development and manufacturing technology of advanced materials, which can give a competitive edge to new products and processes. It has a widely recognised international and national reputation for high quality research, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities of processing, characterisation and mechanical testing.


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