Scientists have designed a vest made of carbon nanotubes that can rebound the force of a bullet, effectively causing the bullet to bounce off without causing a large impact force on the wearer.
CNT vest deflecting a projectile.: Copyright IOP.
Bullet Proof Vest
These researchers, from the University of Sydney, explained how using carbon nanotubes as an antiballistic material may have several advantages over current materials, such as Kevlar, Twaron, and Dyneema fibers. These materials, which by weight are several times stronger than steel, work by absorbing the energy of a bullet and dispersing the energy across the vest's interlocking mesh network. However, the force of the impact can still cause bruising and damage to internal organs.
A vest made of carbon nanotubes imbedded in other materials may greatly decrease the impact force by elastically deflecting a bullet even before its energy diffuses throughout the vest.
Researchers Liangchi Zhang and Kausala Mylvaganam performed tests with a prototype of such a vest, shooting diamond bullets at a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon rolled into tubes. Because of their force-repelling properties, the carbon nanotubes absorbed a bullet's energy by deforming, and then quickly sprang back into shape, deflecting the bullet.
Although the researchers performed these tests under ideal conditions (for example, the ends of the nanotubes were fully clamped down, which may not be possible in practice), they hope that carbon nanotubes will lead to a practical and literal bullet-proof vest.
via: Discovery Channel