Rice University researchers believe they have developed a super material strong enough to possibly stop a 9-millimter bullet and seal the entryway behind it. During test fires the ballistic windshield material performed well time and again.
If the material is perfected, it could bring about massive ballistic protection advances for soldiers, Good Morning America notes. Rice University scientist Ned Thomas had this to say about the bullet-stopping material in a video posted on the facility’s website:
“This would be a great ballistic windshield material. The polymer has actually arrested the bullet and sealed it. There’s no macroscopic damage. The material hasn’t failed, it hasn’t cracked. You can still see through it. We want to find out why this polyurethane works the way it does. Theoretically, no one understood why this particular kind of material, which has nanoscale features of glassy and rubbery domains, would be so good at dissipating energy.”
Rice University worked in conjunction with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and its Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies on the project. While in the process of figuring what happens at the nanoscale with very tiny bullets, the team reportedly unearthed a significant amount of information about block copolymers. The copolymers dissipate the strain which occurs with sudden impact.
The primary goal of the project was to find new ways to make materials more “impervious to deformation or failure” in order to produce lighter and stronger body armor. The research scientists were reportedly inspired by their observations during macroscopic ballistic tests. The copolymer polyurethane material repeatedly demonstrated the ability to stop a 9 mm bullet.