Polymer Application to Metal Substrates

Industry: Anti-Ballistics, Military, Professional Security, Law Enforcement, Custom Automotive Manufacturing
End Users: Policemen, Security Personnel, Military Service members
Solution: Developed a system and custom machine to manufacture anti-ballistic materials constructed from thin sheets of recycled plastic, held together with an adhesive that contains carbon nanotubes, for use in vehicular and body armor.

Most materials used in the anti-ballistics industry today are expensive, heavy and only allow for "single impact," meaning, they can only be used once and then must be discarded. In addition, very few anti-ballistic materials offer much flexibility related to application - either they are used for armored vehicles or body armor, but not necessarily both.

Vallmar Engineering recognized that there was an open door for an anti-ballistic material that is durable and lightweight, flexible in design and still relatively inexpensive. Understanding the benefits of nanotechnology and the extreme strength and elasticity of nanotubes, the team at Vallmar began to develop a process to produce a ballistic shielding material that would offer the right combination of durability and flexibility, while using recycled materials to keep costs in check.

Materials Used - utilizing an existing recycled vinyl material, available in industry standard 4'-wide rolls at .010" thick, Vallmar addressed a major cost issue while also creating an environmentally friendly process.

Durability - a key component of the custom machine is the "shaping/slitting" rollers that embed tens of thousands of minute domes into the thin material. Each strip of vinyl is then cross-layered with the next, fitting perfectly into each other's domes in a crossing pattern. This cross-layered pattern, in combination with the adhseive and carbon nanotubes application, generate a practically impenetrable material.

Diverse Application - in order to address the need for variations in sizes and shapes of needed anti-ballistic materials, the final stage in the system and machine is a curing press that can shape and mold the final sheets (which can be up to 3" thick) into almost any shape needed - from helmets to body armor inserts to full-size (up to 4' x 12') plates for tanks and other armored vehicles.

Testing in Real-Life Situations - prototypes of the material were tested in real-life situations with various law enforcement teams and completed all requirements for a Type IV hard armored plate as specified by the National Institute of Justice standards of body armor. The Type IV classification signifies the ability of the material to protect against .30 caliber armor piercing (AP) bullets with a specified mass of 10.8g and a velocity of 878m/s. The material also protects against all firearms tested in classifications IIA (9 mm; .40 S&W), II (9 mm; .357 Magnum), IIIA (.357 SIG; .44 Magnum), and III (rifles).

The solution was a system and custom machine that will manufacture ballistic shielding materials that are 10 times lighter and cost approximately 50 percent less than the industry standard.

Utilizing an existing recycled vinyl raw material roll, the machine strips the material into custom sized sheets that are fed through the motorized shaping/slitting rollers, creating the cross-layered result described above. Each sheet is added to and cross-layered with the one before, including the addition of the super-strong carbon nanotubes, until the desired width is reached. Once the sheets are combined, the material is fed into a custom curing press, which cures and forms the plate to whatever shape is desired.

- Passed National Institute of Justice requirements
- Patent pending for system & custom machine
- Developed material 10 times lighter than industry standard
- Created durable material allowing for multi-impact