Friday, December 25, 2009

Advanced Cerametrics Produces Superior Boron Carbide Fibers with Viscose Suspension Spinning Process-Technology Will Improve Body and Vehicle Armor


FIGS. 9A, 10A, and 11A from U.S. Patent Application 20090318280 show exemplary boron carbide fibers made by Advanced Cerametrics new manufacturing methods.



Advanced Cerametrics, Inc (Lambertville, NJ) researchers Farhad Mohammadi and Richard B Cass have developed advanced methods for producing metal carbide ceramic fibers. Fibers of various diameters may be produced by varying the size of hole in spinneret; using different size particles; and the like. Particle and fiber size may range from nano size to hundreds of micron size. The technology is particularly well-suited for, but by no means limited to, ballistic and erosion resisting applications, according to U.S. Patent Application 20090318280.

The Cerametrics process provides a process that allows a fiber comprising carbon and metal-based materials to be formed. Cerametrics also developed new manufacturing processes to facilitate formation of an improved metal carbide fiber. The metal carbide fibers are light weight, have increased hardness, and improved ballistic and/or erosive performance—than are currently available boron carbide products made from boron carbide powder.  Cerametrics developed improved methods of making metal carbide fibers that are easier to form and yield higher production volumes at lower costs.

Boron carbide (B4C) is one of the hardest materials known, ranking third behind diamond and cubic boron nitride. It is the hardest material among mass-produced materials (i.e., materials produced in tonnage quantities).

Boron carbide may be used in a wide variety of applications, including ballistic and abrasive applications. For example, boron carbide is the Defense Department's material of choice for ballistic applications, such as body armor. Also, boron carbide materials may be used in military and commercial vehicles in war zones to protect against the pervasive threat of improvised explosive devices. Boron carbide materials may help improve survivability and mobility in future military combat vehicles and aircraft. Boron carbide materials, however, have an Achilles' heel in that conventional means of making boron carbide have several drawbacks

Applications:

Boron carbide fibers and fiber composites may find utility in ballistic applications, where the combination of high hardness, light weight, and high elastic modulus give the material an exceptionally high specific stopping power. This application area widely extends from body armor to tactical vehicles and aircraft for reinforcing and/or replacing the current state of the art ceramic and metal composite protective armors. Beyond military applications, boron carbide fibers and fiber composites may also find utility in civilian markets, including erosion resisting applications due to its high hardness, light weight, high elastic modulus, and erosion resistance characteristics that provide improved abrasion resistance. Boron carbide may also be used in conjunction with other materials to provide desired materials properties and characteristics.

Some exemplary applications include body and vehicle armor as illustrated in Figures 12a, 12b and 12c from Cerametrics' patent application.



Personnel Protection Systems:

Boron carbide fibers and fiber composites may be used in the manufacture of ballistic materials for protective, durable and light weight body armor. The distinct characteristics of advanced boron carbide materials made from boon carbide ceramic fibers--light weight, high hardness, wear and corrosion resistant--offer advantages over conventional materials such as plastics and metals.

Boron carbide ceramics fibers may be manufactured in large volume and formed into various shapes and sizes to allow cost effective body armor production along with custom molding in massive quantities. Also, boron carbide ceramics fibers may be formed as composites to facilitate various applications.

Vehicle Armor Systems:

Durable and light weight armor plating comprising boron carbide ceramics fibers and fiber composites may be incorporated into tactical vehicles, including armor systems and tank tracks. The system may provide flexible and responsive alternatives to local threat requirements allowing fast and effective adjustments to armor protection levels thereby improving survivability.

Aircraft Armor Systems:

Durable and light weight boron carbide ceramics fibers and fiber composites may be incorporated into aircraft protection systems for fixed wing and rotary type aircraft. Exemplary applications include panels, tiles, components, etc. comprising boron carbide ceramics fibers. Aircraft armor systems may be used to protect personnel and cargo areas, vital equipment, controls, and the like.

Automotive Industry:

Boron carbide fibers and fiber composites may be used in automobile manufacturing, as armor plating, in the vehicle body, in the construction of engine blocks, etc. For example, in one embodiment, an engine block may include a fiber composite comprising boron carbide fiber and aluminum metal.

Erosion Resisting Systems:

Boron carbide fiber reinforced composites may be used for brake pads to reduce wear and increase stoppage power in automobiles, motorcycles, aircrafts, etc. The brake pads in high speed cars wear off very fast. The use of a high modulus ceramic fiber, such as boron carbide, in brake pads can significantly prolong the life of brake pads. Boron carbide fiber can be used in any type of break pad by uniformly distributing short or long fibers in the pad matrix and thereby reinforcing it.

Advanced Cerametrics’ improved boron carbide formation processes and chemical routes yield boron carbide fibers having higher relative densities--and thus better ballistic and erosion performance--than currently available boron carbide products. Full density boron carbide fibers may be produced. The improved processes and chemical routes also yield high production volume of boron carbide fiber as compared to conventional methods.

FIG. 1 shows a boron carbide fibers formed via viscose suspension spinning process








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