Mirror, oh mirror, which is the strongest bulletproof material? Steel and Kevlar would be surprised to hear the answer! A team of researchers have discovered a new winner to the question: GRAPHENE. In their study published in the journal Science, it was demonstrated that graphene bulletproof vests would be more resistant to the impact of a bullet than the other two.
The experiments carried out by the scientists showed that graphene is ten times stronger than steel. The single thin sheet of atoms of the material is made up of transparent pure carbon. The atoms are arranged in a honeycomb structure. Graphene is also a good conductor of heat and electricity. It is flexible as well.
When fired with silica spheres, the latter pierce through the sheets which were around 10 to 100 layers thick. During the process, the kinetic energy of the silica spheres was measured both before and after entering the graphene. This was observed by way of an electron microscope.
One of the authors stated that “graphene dissipates energy by stretching into a cone shape and then cracking in various directions”.
Furthermore, the graphene was shown to be able to absorb between 8 and 10 times the impacts of steel.
However, while graphene is stronger, more stiff and elastic, ultimately it has the wider hole.
Kevlar is currently used in bulletproof vests. Perhaps, in due time, it will be replaced, completely or partially, by graphene?