CHANDIGARH: Security personnel can hope to use lighter body armour in the future as scientists at a Patiala-based university are working on developing a polymeric fluid which will substantially reduce the weight of bullet-proof jackets.
The Rs 29 lakh research project -'Shear Thickening Fluid for Soft Armour Development' - has been sponsored by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
At present, bullet-proof jackets weigh around 3.8 kg, containing 20 to 40 layers of a bullet-resistant fibre called Kevlar (poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide).
"We are working on developing polymeric fluid with nano particles in it. The bullet-resistant polymeric liquid will reduce the number of Kevlar layers to four for every 10 Kevlar layers and with which, 50 per cent weight of the vest will get reduced," said Dr Rajeev Mehta, Head, Chemical Engineering Department, Thapar University.
"The layers of Kevlar along with polymeric fluid will form a compartment in a jacket. When hit by a high-velocity bullet, the polymeric liquid will exhibit the unique property of changing itself into a thick, impact-resistant solid material that offers optimum protection," he explained.
Because of large number of fabric layers stitched or laminated together, the body armour get heavier and bulkier which restrict the mobility, agility and comfort of soldiers.
But the liquid body armour will not only provide more safety to soldiers but will also increase their mobility, scientist said.
He said some of the countries like the US have already developed light-weight armour using similar techniques.
"This technique is not sold by any country. Therefore, it is being indigenously developed for DRDO," said Mehta, who has 25-year research experience in polymers.
Mehta said it will take few more months to complete the research project.