Culture 2 min read

New Foam Material Could Make Tanks Virtually Invincible

The new foam material, Composite Metal Foam | Afsaneh Rabiei

The new foam material, Composite Metal Foam | Afsaneh Rabiei

Researchers recently discovered a new foam material that could make tanks blast-proof.

Scientists from North Carolina State University and the United States Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate revealed a new foam material that can block fragmentation and pressure from blasts.

The material is called Composite Metal Foam or CMF. Not only does it provides better protection than conventional armor steel plates used in military tanks today, but it could actively pulverize incoming ballistics.

Aside from that, the material is also said to be lighter than traditional metal armor. They also claim that it could potentially reduce a combat vehicle’s armor weight by around 65 percent.

The revolutionary foam material is made from metal, thus the Composite Metal Foam name. It has holes like regular shaving or sea foam which makes it spongelike. This feature also makes CMF lighter than a regular metal structure.

According to the research team, the foam’s hollow spheres or holes could absorb some of the force taken by a tank from enemy main gun strikes. This will make it considerably more resistant to damage.

To date, one of the most dangerous threats faced by combat vehicle and tank operators are armor piercing rounds. These rounds are specially designed to penetrate even the heaviest armor. However, tests show that the metal foam not only stops the rounds, it could also pulverize them.

“Many military vehicles use armor made of rolled homogeneous steel, which weighs three times as much as our steel-CMF without sacrificing safety, better blocking not only the fragments but also the blast waves that are responsible for trauma such as major brain injuries,” Professor Afsaneh Rabiei, one of the study’s researchers, said.

“That would reduce vehicle weight significantly, improving fuel mileage and vehicle performance.”

The foam’s capability to block the pressure and fragmentation caused by explosions can also protect people within approximately 18 inches from detonations of high explosive incendiary (HEI) rounds. This could significantly prevent life-threatening injuries sustained by soldiers in battle.

Aside from protecting military and combat vehicles, where else do you think this new foam material could be used?

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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