Sunday, March 21, 2010

I'm taking a detour from politics so I don't destroy my digestion

to look at something really interesting:
Researchers at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), which is the research and development arm of the Ministry of Defence, claim it is possible to incorporate material known as supercapacitors into armour of a vehicle to turn it into a kind of giant battery.

When a threat from incoming fire is detected by the vehicle, the energy stored in the supercapacitor can be rapidly dumped onto the metal plating on the outside of the vehicle, producing a strong electromagnetic field.

Scientists behind the project claim this would produce a momentary "force field" capable of repelling the incoming rounds and projectiles
So in best case(I'm thinking) the field could deflect, say, an RPG round so it misses, or- actually also a best case- fry the fuse so it won't fire, which means dud bouncing off the armor. Very nice idea.


Anonymous said...

Their description is terrible.

It's just a thin metal shell outside the armor that is held at high voltage (using an ordinary capacitor). When the RPG metal bridges the gap, it shorts out the voltage, and the spark blows up the projectile. That spreads the impact over a larger area of armor, so it can no longer punch through. It's basically a weapons-grade bug zapper.

wolfwalker said...

Anonymouos, I'm not sure of that. The linked article does mention the system you describe, as "An early incarnation of a different type of electric armour technology." This 'forcefield' armor seems to be something different.

But I think the coolest thing in that article is the third type of experimental armor it mentions, the "Super Bainite." I would never have thought that putting holes in armor plating could improve its protective rating, but the concept does seem to work.

K said...

I Followed the link after you picked up on the "super bainite".

I wonder if the journalist is missing the point there too?

"Bainite" is the name of a micro structure in steel, and is the extremely fine form of pearlite you get following tempering of quenched matensitic steel.

pearlite requires higher energy input to fracture it than other steel micro structures do.

wolfwalker said...

K, I never overestimate the ability of a reporter to f*** up what he's been told. However ... the descriptions I found online of "Super Bainite" suggest that it's an enhanced version of bainite steel, or perhaps a new way of making bainite steel. This link is the best description I found. (I know the headline is French. The body of the article is in English.)

Firehand said...

From that article, sounds like doing a fast quench of that alloy down to a set temperature, then letting it cool slowly down to ambient temp; almost a two-stage hardening process.

On the electrical, it sounds like they're not holding current through the metal constantly: they're holding a charge until sensors detect incoming, then dumping the charge into the threatened section to generate a very strong 'pulsed' magnetic field, using that to deflect or damage the round. Wonder what effect it would have on the stream from a shaped charge?

Also, on the holey armor, wonder if it has any enhanced effectiveness against a shaped-charge or self-forging fragment?