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Boron Carbide – What is it and what does it do?
Boron carburide also known by the name black diamond has a molecular formulation of B4C. It is usually a gray or black powder. It is one the hardest materials and is used as tank armor, in body shields, and for many other industrial purposes.
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In the past 12 year, researchers have looked for ways to reduce damage caused by bullets traveling at high speeds hitting armor made from boron carbide. Dr. Kelvin Yu Xie Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering said: “Our research has now met this need. This is an important step toward designing advanced body armor to protect against powerful weapons in battle.
Boron carbide has been called a “black diamand” and is only second in hardness to cubic boron. The boron-carbide armor material is lighter and harder than silicon carbide and easier to mass-produce.
Boron Carbide Body Armor Lack
According to Texas A&M University’s research, the main drawback of boron carbide is that it can easily be damaged by high-speed impacts. Xie, in a recent statement, said: “Boron carbide is excellent at stopping bullets traveling at 900 meters per seconds. It can therefore effectively block the majority of pistol bullets. If the speed is exceeded, then the trajectory of boron carbide will be affected. “Performance is less effective.”
Scientists have discovered that high-speed vibrating boron carbide will lead to a phase transition, whereby the internal structure of boron carbonate will be altered and it will appear in more than one physical state at once. The bullet’s impact transforms boron carbide from a systematically organized crystalline state into a disorderly-arranged glass state. This glassy state erodes the integrity of the contact between the bullets and the boron-carbide.
Boron Carbide Plus Silica: Benefits
Xie explained: “When boron carbide undergoes a state change, its glassy form creates a path that cracks can follow. Consequently, any damage caused locally by a bullet’s impact will spread to the entire material. .”
Previous computer simulations suggested that adding small amounts other elements could make boron carbide less brittle. The researchers used a diamond tip to create controllable dents in a boron-carbide sample. This was done to simulate the initial impact from a high-speed gun. The researchers then observed the micro-damage caused by the impact using a high-power electronic microscope.
Xie, his colleagues and their research showed that the amount of phase changes was reduced by 30% even if there is a low silicon content. This reduces indentation damage by a significant margin. Xie says that while silicon may enhance the properties boron carbide, further experiments are necessary to find out if other elements also can improve its properties.
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