PhD Student: Harry Payne

Boron Carbide (B4C) is well known for its’ hardness and has been a material of great interest for the defeat of ballistic threats. However, above a critical pressure, the B4C undergoes phase collapse, hence losing its ballistic properties. Silicon Carbide, on the other hand, does not undergo phase collapse during impact but is denser and expensive to produce. Alumina, the base of most ballistic armours, is the densest of this trio and relatively inexpensive. Alumina’s properties, whilst fine for current threats, are not optimised for ballistic armour and improvements can be made to performance and cost. As the military equipment grows in weight, the need for a light and effective armour is obvious. The aim of this project is to see if the properties of B4C and SiC can be combined by producing a nanocomposite that is light, hard and has sufficient toughness to enhance ballistic and multi-hit performance. This is a ground-up project, sponsored by the Defence Science Technology Laboratory [DSTL], considering all stages of production and property selection.