If you thought steel or Kevlar were the strongest materials on the planet, you’re in for a surprise. Graphene is the new technology that is said to be two times stronger than Kevlar and it will be used in the armor field for the best protection.
Kevlar is a synthetic fiber invented by Stephanie Kwolek in 1965 at DuPont. The Kevlar material was used in the manufacturing of body armors especially because it’s five time stronger than steel, but a lot lighter. Besides being used for armor, Kevlar is also used for industrial applications like cables, brake linings and vehicle armor.
The future of strong materials is Graphene, which is an almost transparent carbon sheet. Graphene is as thin as an atom but can hold a bullet 10 times better than steel can. Scientists at the Rice University have been making thorough studies in order to get the best from Graphene.
Experiments have proved that graphene can protect against a bullet better than steel and Kevlar, both materials used in making bullet-proof vests.
Mass producing graphene is still under debate since carbon used in such a state is very reactive. In order to prove its results, scientists are working in confined labs, at a low level. One of the experiments involved several graphene sheets being put together and hit by a glass bullet. The bullet is fired at a speed of 6,700 mph.
This is almost 1/3 of the speed with which a real bullet travels. This made gold filaments as a source of the gun powder and the gold particles were vaporized by a laser which pushed the micron-sized bullet in the direction of the graphene. The graphene sheets absorbed the impact of the bullet like a trampoline, creating very small cracks in the sheets that neutralized the bullet’s impact.
The graphene sheets absorbed approximately 0,92 MJ/kg of projectile energy. When steel was used, it absorbed only 0,08 MJ/kg, at the same bullet speed.
The team of researchers who performed the graphene experiments explained:
“The ability of graphene to dissipate energy is due to a high degree of stiffness combined with low density, which means that energy can move through it very quickly, allowing for the dissipation of energy from something traveling as fast as a bullet.”