Composite Metal Foam as Armor

Posted on: April 22nd, 2016 by Will Rodriguez 5 Comments

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.

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  • Camo_Steve

    Cool stuff. The applications for the material is near endless.

  • YankeePapa

    …Return some mobility to the battlefield.  (Two images…)

    -Yankee Papa-

  • Camo_Steve

    I would hate for the weight requirements to force squads to be split up in multiple vehicles. So hopefully, the people at the Future Fighting Vehicle program is taken a look at the material.

  • YankeePapa

    Camo_Steve …Your comment mentions a ghastly trait re fighting vehicles.  Trying to make squads smaller to fit vehicle requirements rather than the other way around.  Unless two vehicles *routinely* assigned to carry each squad, then something is seriously wrong if some yo-yo is trying to say… sell the Army on smaller squads.

    …Army squads are already too small.  They should have three fire teams.  One sad fact of life is that while a rifle company might just deploy with full T.O.&E., after a period of time the actual number of those deployed at the “sharp end” might only be 2/3rds or even half establishment “ass in the grass” strength… The enemy is not intimidated by two man fire teams and five man squads.                       -Yankee Papa-

  • YankeePapa Camo_Steve 
    Camo Steve vehicles driving the size of Infantry squads is exactly what happened during the Future Combat System program.  The argumjents were load and vociferous between the Armor and Infantry schools.

    Splitting squads is a bad thing.  I operated that way and it’s very difficult for a squad leader to link up let alone control his squad when separated by mechanized infantry distances.  It’s not just a squad internal commo problem either.  There’s also talking to the rest of the platoon and the vehicles carrying the squad.
    The Army relearned this lesson in Iraq with Stryker Infantry performing much better in general when it came to infantry centric type operations.  Subsequently the Army made nine man squad in one vehicle a non-negotiable with the GCV program that died.

    The added wrinkle is now we have the Armor and Infantry on one base and command of that school is rotated between the two branches.  It’s very dangerous when one general and all of his bias can be the deciding vote.  (Remember my discussion about Milley and the Army’s pistol?).  There was a raging debate going on about making the Infantry squad smaller so it could fit an improved Bradley and addressing the shortcomings with technology.  The problem I found in discussing the issue with the program manager is that he was only letting the last ten years of combat inform his decision on what combat looks like.

    I’ve wanted to write about this as well as a slew of other topics.  Time is quite precious to me right now and my accommodations don’t provide me a lot of privacy to think.