Soft and lightweight synthetic rubbers that can absorb large amounts of energy from bullets and shrapnel could help lead to improved armor, researchers say.
Novel armor from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory incorporating these polymers have already matched the performance of standard military protection while cutting the weight by almost half.
“The initial reaction when people hear about this idea is, ‘No, that can’t work, that’s nonsense,’” Roland says. “But after they hear about all these findings, they say it’s really impressive. It surprised us too, initially, but now we’re completely convinced by all the data.”