The new light-weight material could eventually replace the “thick, heavy-layered plates” of Kevlar used in existing bullet-proof vests.
Researchers at BAE systems in Bristol combined a “shear-thickening” liquid with the existing material used in bullet-proof vests – called Kevlar – to create the new armor. The chemical formula of the new liquid is being kept secret but scientists say it works by thickening and becoming sticky on impact with a bullet.
Stewart Penny, BAE’s business development manager, described the new material as “bullet-proof custard”.
He told the BBC: “It’s very similar to custard in the sense that the molecules lock together when it’s struck.”
To test the new armor, scientists used a large gas gun to fire spherical-shaped bullets at more than 300 metres per second.
They fired one set of bullets at 31 layers of untreated Kevlar and another set at 10 layers of Kevlar combined with the new “shear-thickening” liquid.
The results showed that the Kevlar and liquid mix was more effective.
“The Kevlar with the liquid works much faster and the impact isn’t anything like as deep,” Mr Penny said.
Mr Penny claims the new light-weight material could eventually replace the “thick, heavy-layered plates” of Kevlar used in existing bullet-proof vests for soldiers.
He added that the new armour would reduce soldier fatigue and would be more effective against bullets and shrapnel.