Researchers have proven that vehicle armor using composite metal foam materials can block 0.50 caliber bullets and armor-piercing projectiles. Although its weight is less than half the weight of traditional steel armor, its protective effect is the same as traditional steel armor. This discovery means that vehicle designers will be able to develop light military vehicles without sacrificing safety, or improve vehicle protection capabilities without increasing vehicle weight.
Composite metal foam material is a kind of foam material composed of hollow metal balls. These metal balls are made of stainless steel or metal titanium and are embedded in a metal matrix made of steel, titanium, aluminum or other metal alloys. In this study, the researchers used a steel-steel composite metal foam material, which means that both the sphere and the matrix are made of steel.
In this study, the researchers created a hard armor system consisting of a ceramic panel, a composite metal foam core, and an aluminum thin back plate. The armor test used 0.50 caliber bullets and armor-piercing projectiles. The launch speed of the test armor ranges from 500 meters per second to 885 meters per second.
The armored composite metal foam material layer can absorb 72-75% of the kinetic energy of the bullet and 68-78% of the kinetic energy of the armor-piercing projectile.
In addition to being light in weight, composite metal foam is also very effective in shielding x-rays, gamma rays and neutron radiation, and its fire and heat insulation capabilities are twice that of ordinary metal materials.