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Boron Carbide-Silicon Carbide nanocomposites for next generation armour

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posted on 12.01.2022, 15:34 authored by Henry (Harry) Payne
Modern warfare is developing rapidly; technology is becoming more advanced and the modern soldier requires more of it. With the increase in equipment there is an increase in weight which reduces mobility. Threats have also developed, in such environments greater protection can be required. Combining these two results shows a need to produce lighter armour with a higher level of protection. Boron Carbide (B4C) has shown great potential for use in armours. It has a high hardness and low density, but unfortunately it sometimes fails prematurely. This has been explained by a phase transformation involving polytype collapse. This research aims to mitigate structural breakdown by microstructural design. It is hypothesised that a composite containing nano grains of B4C and Silicon Carbide (SiC) can mitigate the polytype breakdown, whilst combining the low density of B4C with the ballistic reliability of SiC. Current work has focused on creating robust nanopowder production techniques. Silica particles, the precursors to SiC, have been successfully produced at 100 nm average size. This has been achieved by investigating various reaction ratios in order to determine the repeatability of the reaction and the suitability for industry. Further to this, successful analysis of B4C-SiC powders, produced using SiO2 nanoparticles has been completed. This work pushes forward the project into the final composite production phase with the aim of using nanoindentation to determine their suitability as ceramic armours.

Funding

DSTL

Novamat LTD

History

Authoriser (e.g. PI/supervisor)

m.j.smith@cranfield.ac.uk