Flexible Body Armor
Navy SBIR FY2008.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2008.2
Topic No.: N08-107
Topic Title: Flexible Body Armor
Proposal No.: N082-107-1034
Firm: NanoMech, LLC
535 W Research Blvd
Suite 135, M/S 100
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701
Contact: Bhavin Parekh
Phone: (479) 571-2592
Abstract: To facilitate combat operations and maintain adequate force protection, there is an immediate need for all-around body armor systems for US military forces. This need has driven advancement in developing, evaluating, modifying, and incorporating new and commercial protective materials and technologies for meeting the goal of flexible, light weight and more effective armor protection systems. Specifically, this project will focus on developing an innovative design that integrates boron carbide (B4C) nanoparticles as reinforcing or filler phases into commercial protective polymeric fabric materials such as Kevlar and ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) to enhance their strength, toughness and ballistic performance. The innovative design, materials, and fabrication process proposed in this project will substantially improve the durability of soft body armor systems, while reducing the mass and bulk size, covering contoured areas of the body for US service men and women. Similar benefits are expected for law enforcement teams working to strengthen US borders and security. Based on successful demonstration of the feasibility in Phase I, the NanoMech team will optimize the process, develop quality control criteria and explore scale-up of the manufacturing process for its repeatability, reproducibility, and durability for mass production in Phase II.
Benefits: There is an ever-increasing need for low cost, light weight and high-performance materials with superior ballistic performance for body armor applications. The proposed innovative process is expected to deliver nanoengineered polymeric fabric that will meet the demand for soft armor systems: stronger and superior ballistic performance while retaining low mass and high flexibility, for US military forces and law enforcement. The process can be implemented for large scale manufacturing. A successful outcome from this innovative approach will meet the demand for US military and law enforcement personnel protection, and potentially also serve protective functions for vehicles and other mission-critical equipment. Broad commercial applications are also expected for the nanoengineered polymer fabric materials and their associated products.