The majority of engineers are men. The majority of U.S. Army soldiers are also men. So when a new piece of equipment is being designed--equipment that could change the outcome of a life or death situation--it's made with men in mind. Then, if women need it, they might just have to shoehorn themselves into the male variety, as is currently the case with body armor. But the Army recently announced it'll try to change that by testing new body armor built for women.
Perhaps no creature packs a more intimidating punch — especially relative to its size — than the peacock mantis shrimp. It feasts on snails, crabs and other mollusks and crustaceans by smashing through their shells with its front hammer-like claws, delivering 500 Newtons of force. This is powerful enough to punch through aquarium glass.
Weaving wool into Kevlar improves the energy and water absorption of the synthetic textile, potentially making bulletproof vests more comfortable and more affordable, according to researchers in Australia.
Tightly woven wool reduces the number of Kevlar layers required to stop a bullet from 36 to 30, and wool's water-absorption qualities could make Kevlar more effective in wet situations.
Printable body armor, better bulletproof glass, and tougher steel are just a few of the applications for a new materials technology developed by Israeli researchers. A team of scientists there have developed a transparent material made of self-assembling nanospheres that is the stiffest organic material ever created, surpassing the properties of stainless steel and even Kevlar.
The boron carbide that forms body armor plates and helps protect battle tanks has now become a part of T-shirt fabric. The reinforced nanocomposites could eventually lead to more flexible body armor or lightweight materials for cars and aircraft, according to Chemistry World.
A snail might not sounds like an ideal inspiration for a defense system, but one unique, deep-sea dwelling mollusk could serve as the model for a new kind of body armor, based on its ability to repel crab attacks.
He is man's best friend after all, so doesn't he deserve the tactical body armor commensurate with that title? K9 Storm, a Canadian body armor specialist, pulls in millions a year manufacturing body armor for dogs serving in the line of duty on police forces and in militaries around the world. In 2010, their newest line of doggie defense, the K9 Storm Intruder, will pull Fido into the digital age.
While weapons continue to grow smarter and smarter, the U.S. Army is developing armor to match the arms. A new 'intelligent' armor under development at the Army's Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center can evaluate its own condition, identify the type of round being shot at it, and even generate electrical power from bullet strikes.