A Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at North Carolina State University appears to have tweak a 100 year old metal making approach to create armor that is 70% lighter and 80 times more energy absorbent than steel.
Composite metal foam (CMF) is created by suspending hollow metal spheres in liquid metal alloy. Uniformity in the size of the spheres as well as distribution is key to achieving the greater performance of the composite metal foam. Professor Afsaneh Rabiei tested his material by firing armor piercing 7.62 rounds at a 25mm sheet. The steel stopped the round and exceeded National Institute of Justice (NIJ) standards by a whopping 500% with rear plate deformation of only 8mm when the standard allows 44mm.
The technology has application in armor, car bumpers and because of its high heat and radiation resistance, spacecraft. One can watch video of the armor piercing round shattering as well as more information on Brietbart where it was reported.