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Monday, January 23, 2006

Nano-Armor: Protecting the Astronauts of Tomorrow

Equipment being used to produce the IF material
Equipment being used to produce the IF material
Credit: IsraCast
In an article on IsraCast, the research behind making a nanoparticle based shield-vest for soldiers is discussed. ApNano, the company that developed nanolubricant, is working on such armory. The implications of the weight-to-strength ratio of this material (and indeed many nanomaterials) leads to the interesting possibility of using these new materials for space craft, shielding, electrical wires, and plumbing (maybe a long shot for sinks, but there are many other uses for nanopipes).

The shield is made of inorganic fullerene-like nanostructures (IF) and can withstand impacts of 250 tons per square centimeter, more than 5 times the strength of steel and twice the strength of the normal materials used for building bullet-proof vests. It is also assumed that the IF will be much less expensive than organic fullerenes. Although TiO2 IF are heavy, current research is focusing on making them 4 times lighter.

Another use for nanomaterials could be solar sails. Because of their great strength, flexibility, and impact resistance, the sails can be made large and light and still be strong.

- posted by Jim @ 15:20 EST