Will plastic stop a bullet?

2 Comments

Will plastic stop a bullet?

Welcome back to the 57th installment of my blog, in which I don’t claim to be an expert, in fact, the opposite. I’m a new user of the AR platform and want to share my findings and experiences as I go through and build rifles as well as being the Operations Manager at Tyrant Designs.

 

 

First off, I'd like to apologize for the two week gap in my blogs. I was on my honeymoon and, well, I didn't feel like working. But now I am back and boy did I miss you guys!

Webster’s dictionary defines armor as a defensive covering for the body; especially: covering (as of metal) used in combat. When someone mentions body armor the first thing that comes to my mind is indeed some type of metal (like steel) used for protection from explosions and projectiles.

 

However, Steel isn’t the only kind of material used for body armor. Kevlar, a fiber based material, is also very popular. Ceramic is not as widely used but can be used for this purpose.

But, what about plastic? I was skeptical when I first heard about plastic body armor until I did some thorough googling.

 

There is a special type of plastic called UHMWPE, which stands for Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene. You may have heard of this plastic before as it has had many commercial applications. In the medical field, it is used for hip, knee, and spine implants. Civil applications containing these plastics include cut-resistant knives, bow strings, climbing equipment, high-performance sails, and suspensions lines. What I’m trying to say is this plastic is tough and versatile.

 

To make body armor out of this plastic, you have to layer thin sheets of it together. To do this you need extreme heat and pressure to get the layers to stick together. Each individual layer is strong on its own but together it is even more resilient. The question is how effective is it for stopping bullets?

 

When a projectile comes in contact with the armor, the resin bonds between each layer are broken. Each layer absorbs the force and distributes it efficiently without penetration. The armor has been thoroughly tested by military and civilians alike and the consensus is it’s very tough and you can get the same protection as having steel plates but at half the weight.

This information is not new or groundbreaking to some, but considering I knew absolutely nothing about this a few hours ago, I thought it was interesting and I would share my findings to all the other body armor newbs like myself. 

 

Would you trust to protect your body with plastic? What other weird compound would work???


2 Responses

Paul Cessna
Paul Cessna

June 02, 2018

Where I work I acquired UHMW 1/2” pieces great for targets. Shot 5.56 at all ranges. Pepperd 1 piece dozens of times. Looked like blackheads on the backside. Never had a through and through. 40 cal. Went through as well as 9mm the exit wound was small and looked like it almost stopped it. Would I trust it as body armour, yes for in a pinch. Double it up and I wouldn’t hesitate using in real world. Great to line car doors and body panes.

w e smith
w e smith

June 01, 2018

Not really a new thing. early , modern soft armor from the seventies was made using nylon, the reason this type of material is called ballistic nylon. later , as noted , came Kevlar or Aramid material. Next was Spectra or UHMPE or HDPE, all of these materials are polymers or as commonly known, plastics. Even the use of polymers in hard armor, level iii, is common in neutrally buoyant hard plates.

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