Stovall was sure that the end was near and instinctively reached for his stomach and chest, expecting to find mortal wounds; instead, he found that his Interceptor body armor had absorbed the impact and power of the blast. Pfc. Gregory Stovall is just one of many soldiers, sailors, and marines who have been saved by their body armor in Iraq and Afghanistan .
A Brief History of Body Armor
In order to validate the usefulness of Kevlar, the NIJ tested it in a four phase process over a period of several years. The first phase involved testing Kevlar fabric to determine its effectiveness at stopping a lead bullet. The second phase determined the number of layers of fabric necessary to stop bullets of varying speeds and calibers. By 1973, at the end of the second phase, a preliminary Kevlar vest prototype with seven layers of Kevlar fabric was created and further tested to determine its resistance to environmental agents such as water and light. The third phase of testing evaluated the performance level of body armor necessary to save human lives. The final phase of testing monitored the Kevlar vest’s wearability and effectiveness in the field. Testing concluded in 1976 with a determination that Kevlar was effective as a bullet resistance garment. Subsequently, the material was cleared for full-time use by law enforcement officers .
Modern Body Armor
How Body Armor Works
The engineering behind body armor is simple yet fascinating. Most hard body armor is constructed out of high-tech ceramic, such as silicon carbide or boron carbide. These high-tech ceramics are used in place of metal because they are significantly lighter. When a bullet hits ceramic armor, the bullet shatters at the ceramic surface and the bullet fragments are trapped by the backing fibers .
The Future of Body Armor
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