CRADA Partnership Advances SiC Armor

June 1, 2004
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) were established and authorized under the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986 as a vehicle to improve the transfer of commercially useful technologies from federal laboratories to the private sector. Since then, CRADAs have proven to be a crucial tool in developing and improving a variety of high-tech products-including ceramic armor.

A PS-SiC armor tile. Photo courtesy of Superior Graphite, Chicago, IL.
One such CRADA between Superior Graphite, based in Chicago, Ill., and Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL), Idaho Falls, Idaho, has been developing improved silicon carbide (SiC) powders and processes to make advanced lightweight armor tiles to effectively protect future military vehicles. (The INEEL is the sole manufacturing base for the heavy armor solution for the M1 main battle tank.) Although SiC-based armor material is not a new discovery, the traditional processes of hot pressing and post hot isostatic pressing make the current commercially available pressure-assisted-densified (PAD) SiC an expensive material to be deployed extensively for armor applications. The Superior Graphite/INEEL partners have developed a low-cost pressureless sintering (PS) process for SiC armor material that meets the ballistic requirements of increasing threat levels of armor-piercing projectiles, while also weighing less than some conventional armor materials, such as alumina. The resulting PS-SiC armor material offers performance equivalent to current PAD-SiC, but at less than 60% of the cost of typical PAD-SiC.

Figure 1a. Ballistic limit behavior of various ceramic tiles.
Figures 1a and 1b show the results of ballistic tests performed on the PS-SiC armor tiles by the Armor Mechanics Branch at the U.S. Army Research Lab, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Harford County, Md. The tests indicated that the lower-cost PS-SiC offers ballistic performance that is within 97% of that of one brand of expensive PAD-SiC and that outperforms other brands of PAD-SiC and silicon nitride (Si3N4). The CRADA partners expect the lower-cost PS-SiC to become a popular choice of high-performance armor materials for future light-armored military vehicles, positioned between heavier alumina and more expensive and brittle boron carbide materials.

Figure 1b. Ballistic limit ws. areal density.
The Superior Graphite/INEEL research team continues to work on improving the ballistic performance of the silicon carbide ceramic, and they are also developing a process to fabricate ceramic in a conformal configuration to meet military demand. One example is a hard-particle-reinforced SiC matrix composite that potentially offers improved ballistic performance. The research team is also investigating the possibility of extending the process to boron carbide to gain further reductions in the overall weight of ceramic armor systems.

For more information about these developments, contact Superior Graphite at (312) 559-2999 or (800) 325-0337, e-mail CustomerServiceUSA@SuperiorGraphite.com , http://www.superiorgraphite.com ; or contact the INEEL at (800) 708-2680, e-mail info@inel.gov , http://www.inel.gov . For information about other CRADA opportunities, visit http://www.federallabs.org .

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Ceramic Industry Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

In-Depth Features

These articles detail innovative advanced ceramic and glass materials and technologies.

Podcasts

Sapphire: An Extreme Performer

Ian Doggett of Goodfellow and CI Editor Susan Sutton discuss the benefits and opportunities provided by industrial sapphire.

More Podcasts

THE MAGAZINE

Ceramic Industry Magazine

CI April 2014 cover

2014 April

Our April issue features details on advanced materials such as ceramic matrix composites and piezoelectric ceramics, among many others. Be sure to check it out!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE CERAMIC INDUSTRY STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\Ceramics Industry\handbook of advanced ceramics.gif
Handbook of Advanced Ceramics Machining

Ceramics, with their unique properties and diverse applications, hold the potential to revolutionize many industries, including automotive and semiconductors.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Directories

CI Data Book July 2012

Ceramic Industry's Directories including Components, Equipment Digest, Services, Data Book & Buyers Guide, Materials Handbook and much more!

STAY CONNECTED

facebook_40px twitter_40px  youtube_40pxlinkedin_40