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US Army: On Demand 3D Printed Body Armor

Task & Purpose reports on a recent announcement made by the US Army Research Laboratory.  Apparently, their researchers “have devised a method to produce ceramic body armor, lightweight but strong, from a 3D printer.”  This 3D printer is modified, of course.

This sort of ceramic armor “provides great protection but can also be difficult to manufacture, notably in combining materials to create a strong composite.”  As US Army Research Laboratory Researcher Lionel Vargas-Gonzalez explains: “for ceramics, that’s a bit of a challenge because you can’t really do a one-step additive manufacturing process like you could when using metal or plastic polymer.”

However, ceramic armor is a must for the US Army.  As Vargas-Gonzalez elaborates, this sort of armor can “stop bullets by shattering them or reducing their penetrative ability, but this depends on how porous the ceramic is.  Ceramic armor can achieve something that’s about 99 to 100 percent fully dense.  This density is important because porosity is one of the main deficiencies of ceramic armor when it comes to being able to withstand threats.”

For Vargas-Gonzalez, indeed the entire US Army Research Laboratory, as a result of this, 3D printed ceramics are the “next avenue for armor because researchers like him will be able to, in theory, design armor in a way they can attach multiple materials together into a single armor plate, and be able to provide ways for the armor to perform better than it can be just based on one material alone.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Task & Purpose

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