Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nanofoams for better body armor, blast protection

Date:
March 26, 2013
Source:
University of California, San Diego
Summary:
Engineers are developing nanofoams that could be used to make better body armor; prevent traumatic brain injury and blast-related lung injuries in soldiers; and protect buildings from impacts and blasts. It’s the first time researchers are investigating the use of nanofoams for structural protection.

From left: Porous silica, with an average pore size of a few microns seen at the 5-micron, 20-micron and 50-micron scale.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of California, San Diego

Engineers at the University of California, San Diego are developing nanofoams that could be used to make better body armor; prevent traumatic brain injury and blast-related lung injuries in soldiers; and protect buildings from impacts and blasts. It's the first time researchers are investigating the use of nanofoams for structural protection.

"We are developing nanofoams that help disperse the force of an impact over a wider area," said Yu Qiao, a professor of structural engineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego. "They will appear to be less rigid but will actually be more resistant than ordinary foams."

Researchers are in the first year of a three-year program funded by the Army Research Office. "We are getting some promising results," Qiao said. Cang Zhao, a Ph.D. student in Qiao's research group, will present the results at Research Expo April 18 on the UC San Diego campus.

The nanofoams are made up of a honeycomb, or porous, structure and are very light -- pores make up anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of the structure. Researchers have been trying to determine the optimal pore size to absorb energy from impacts. They have manufactured samples with pore sizes ranging from 10 nanometers to 10 microns. Preliminary results show that when pore size reaches tens of nanometers, the material seems to perform best. Those samples absorb energy from an impact or blast over a wider area, which makes the material more resistant to impacts and blasts. By contrast, in ordinary foams, energy is absorbed in one localized area, leading to quick failure. This problem is called "damage localization" and means that ordinary foams do not perform well to protect against impacts or blasts.

The materials are tested in Qiao's lab at the Jacobs School. Samples are placed in a testing rig powered by a gas gun and subjected to increasingly stronger impacts. Researchers then put the samples under a scanning electron microscope to examine the damage. They use extensive data analysis to determine how much energy the nanofoams absorbed during the impact tests.

The samples are also manufactured in Qiao's lab. Researchers first blend two materials together at the molecular level, then they use acid etching or combustion to remove one of the two materials, creating nano-scale empty channels in the process. Currently, the material is dry cured. During the next two years, researchers plan to apply similar principles to manufacture and test metallic and polymeric nanomaterials.

"People have been looking at preventing damage from impacts for more than a hundred years," said Qiao. "I hope this concept can provide a new solution."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, San Diego. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California, San Diego. "Nanofoams for better body armor, blast protection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130326095104.htm>.
University of California, San Diego. (2013, March 26). Nanofoams for better body armor, blast protection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130326095104.htm
University of California, San Diego. "Nanofoams for better body armor, blast protection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130326095104.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Google Teases India Event, Possible Android One Reveal

Google Teases India Event, Possible Android One Reveal

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) Google has announced a Sept. 15 event in India during which they're expected to reveal their Android One phones. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins