Technology Driven ·  Warfighter Focused

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Novel Ultra-Strong Low Cost Film Manufacturing Technology for Superior Warfighter Protection

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OBJECTIVE / SOLUTION

The ballistic performance of unidirectional polyethylene material used in hard armor, soft armor, and helmet applications has reached a plateau. High performance ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW PE) film produced on a laboratory scale exhibits two to three times higher mass efficiency compared to traditional unidirectional polyethylene. This program will produce PE film with higher mechanical properties and ballistic performance compared to current state of the art, will develop and demonstrate manufacturing scale tooling of UHMWPE film on 100kg scale or greater, and will demonstrate improved performance in helmet and torso plate applications.

Achievements

• Successfully created Tensylon® Solid State Extruded (SSE) UHMWPE ‘Widesheet’ film up to 72.5-cm wide using a commercial prototypic process.
• Converted the ‘Widesheet’ into armor coupons that showed 15% increase in V50 at equal weight, or 20% weight reduction at equal protection
• Demonstrated a test to predict the V50 performance of very small samples compared to actual V50 on full scale targets.
• Used the test to identify a combination of experimental polymer and process optimization that lead to 30% increase in specific energy absorbed in overmatch testing.
• Demonstrated a tenacity and modulus of 32-gpd / 2000- gpd, using a second experimental UHMWPE polymer and non-optimized processing conditions, representing a 50% increase over current commercial SSE-UHMWPE films.

Benefits

• Hard armor and helmet system weight reduction (10–20%) and material cost reduction (40%)
• Increased Warfighter mobility, survivability
• Cost Benefit of $106M with ROI of 23:1

Transition and Weapon Systems / Secondary Items Impacted

• Transition to Soldier Protection System Program of Record (PEO Soldier).
• Technology has applicability to other services and ground vehicle platforms

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