Firefighting Marines combat a simulated fire exercise

Protective clothing material

We usually think of bullet-proof vests and jackets as protective clothing. Some other forms of personal protection made from amazing materials include

  • ballistic materials – designed to provide protection from bullets in the event of a school shooting, or from falling or flying debris in the event of a tornado. Dangers from nature are of greater concern, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimating that around 1,000 tornadoes occur in the US each year, resulting in an average of 70 deaths and 1,500 injuries, most often caused by blunt force trauma.
  • fire protection – fire fighters, race car drivers, works at oil refineries
  • chemical protection – handling hazardous materials including chemicals

National Institute of Justice (NIJ) ballistic and stab standards used for law enforcement armor in the US

  • Type IIIA – protects against a range of ammunition, including .9mm and .22-caliber bullets, absorbing a significant amount of the bullet’s energy by “catching” and deforming the bullet within the layers. Dyneema, a polyethylene-based material can absorb approximately 490 – 660 joules of energy, or 361 – 486 foot pound of force, whether it be from a bullet or falling or flying debris.

Meet the people in Materials Engineering

Materials engineering includes elements of applied physics and chemistry, as well as chemical, mechanical, civil and electrical engineering. Materials engineers select materials, work to improve their properties, lower their processing cost, and increase their durability. They make steel stronger, ceramics tougher, composites less costly, and computer chips faster.

  • Lee Ann Schwope, QA & Manufacturing Manager/Materials Engineer – ballistic armor material Onnex (the ceramic strike plate we manufacture and sell). Excera sells armor and molten metal handling equipment. We work closely with the Air Force, Army, Navy, and private companies in the armor business. In general, I am responsible for the day to day operations, including everything regarding the facility to purchasing. The manufacturing team and I create and implement production plans as well as ensure ISO compliance.

That’s engineering

  • absorbent – A material with an affinity for certain substances, extracts one or more such substances from a liquid or gaseous medium it contacts and changes physically and/or chemically. Calcium chloride is an example of a solid absorbent. Solutions of lithium chloride, lithium bromide, and ethylene glycols are liquid absorbents.

Engineering ideas

  • deform, absorb, joules, energy, foot pounds, force