Technologists have discovered a wonder foam – Composite Metal Foam (CMF) that does just stop bullets from penetrating its target, it decimates the bullet into dust upon impact.
The Composite Metal Foam (CMF) was reportedly invented and created by a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University Professor, Afsaneh Rabiei with her team of researchers who aim to build a high-strength armour.
According to an international report, Prof. Rabiei initially produced a foam metal shield that could block X-rays, various forms of gamma rays and neutron radiation in 2015, and subsequently, set out to build the CMF.
Rabiei explained that bullets could be stopped at a total thickness of less than an inch, while the indentation on the back was less than 8mm.
How CMF is built
The Composite Metal Foam (CMF) is made by bubbling gas through molten metal to form a frothy mixture which then sets as a lightweight matrix. This latest invention leaves a material that offers a lighter alternative to conventional metals, while still maintaining a comparable strength.
Composition of the Composite Metal Foam (CMF)
The shield was comprised of boron carbide ceramics as the strike face, with Composite Metal Foam (CMF) as the bullet kinetic energy absorber layer and Kevlar panels as backplates. To test its durability, Rabiei and her team took aim with a 7.62 x 63 mm M2 armor-piercing projectile, which was fired in line with the standard testing procedures established by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ).
The video below demonstrates how CMF turned bullets to dust:
In context, the foam simply works by absorbing the bullet’s kinetic energy. Contrary to other protective options which tend to be very cumbersome, awkward and heavy, the foam shielding could provide a lightweight, strong alternative for the military. It could also have the potential for transportation and storage of hazardous materials.
CMF was obviously accepted Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy for its double potentials to protect against fire and heat as regular metal. For instance, the lightweight stainless steel foam was far more effective than stainless steel.
Rabiei and her team of researchers examined the foam’s heat protection by testing some of the foam that was 0.75 inches thick against 800 degrees Celsius fire for 30 minutes. And they tested a regular piece of stainless steel the same size and width against the same heat.
CMF withstood the heat twice as long. While it took four minutes for the extreme heat to reach the other side of the regular stainless steel from the fire. The team’s foam withstood the heat for eight minutes before it reached the other end.
While the wonder foam could protect against neutron radiation that can be produced by nuclear fission or fusion, It is also suggested CMFs could be leveraged by the military to safely transport and store explosive, or it could even be used for the safekeeping and transfer of nuclear and other hazardous materials.