Reaserchers claim that graphene may make better bulletproof vests. In their search for finding a material that works better for bulletproof vests, scientists are turning their attention to graphene. Graphene is believed to work twice as better as the fabrics presently found in armors used by soldiers and the police.
Researchers have conducted tests in which they shot little silicon spheres at graphene and discovered the material may be a lot stronger than steel when it comes to absorption. Graphine has a structure consisting of many single atom thick carbon sheets.
Scientists at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst said that in order to shoot the micro bullets on the graphene sheets between 10 layers and 100 layers thick the researchers made use of lasers.
The spheres were shot at around 3,000 meters per second; a normal rifle bullet has three times this speed. The sheets of graphene were observed on an electron microscope to have absorbed the impacts by deforming into a shape of cone and breaking outward in a radial pattern in several directions.
The leader of the research Jae-Hwang Lee said the breaking can lead to a wider hole on impact and is a potential weakness of the graphene in a single-layer. However, the graphene is twice as efficient at absorbing shocks as the present body armor material, Kevlar and 10 times more efficient than steel, which means it’s possible that graphene may make better bulletproof vests.
The researchers said that currently graphene is too fragile to be used for creating a solid material, but could be constructed in more layers or integrated in a blended structure along with other materials in order to prevent the spreading of the cracks. Waves of energy have been found to go through graphene three times faster than in steel, which means graphene may rapidly scatter a projectile energy.
The study is the latest one that investigates the qualities of graphene but it was first produced in the laboratory by researchers Konstantin Novoselov and Andre Geim at the Manchester University in Britain in 2003. The work made by the two scientists brought them in 2010 the Nobel Prize for Physics.
Jae-Hwang Lee said his technology of micro bullets can also be used to study the performance of other materials under severe conditions.