Description: The Naval Research Laboratory has developed impact armor with unparalleled performance for its weight. The armor consists of alternating layers of an elastic polymer and a harder material such as aluminum, ceramic, or an alternative polymer. Performance is enhanced with as few as six alternating layers. The layers can be attached to a thicker front plate or backing for additional protection. A topographically structured front surface rotates pointed projectiles, enhancing penetration resistance, and allows for breakage by blunting the projectile’s point. The armor affords protection against a range of threats, including armor piercing munitions and explosion fragments. The strength and lightness of the armor would allow for portable, modular protective structures or lightweight personal gear for industrial or law enforcement applications.

Advantages/Features Include:

  • 50% enhanced ballistic resistance over steel armor at equal areal density
  • Significantly lighter than conventional armor with equal or better performance
  • Meets STANAG insensitive munitions requirements
  • Recyclable and repairable, in field

Applications Include:

  • Protective gear, including helmets
  • Up-armoring vehicles and equipment
  • Infrastructure protection (railway cars, tankers, buildings)
  • Portable ballistic and bomb protective panels


  • "Impact-Induced Glass Transition in Elastomeric Coatings," Applied Physics Letters, 90, 221910-1 - 22190-3 (2007).
  • "Elastomer-Steel Laminate Armor," Composite Structures, 92, 1059-1064 (2010).

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