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Nanotube Body Armor Coming Soon

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the suiting-up dept.

The Military 112

s31523 writes "Military and law enforcement agencies are constantly seeking better protection in the line of fire, but current armor is heavy and bulky. The University of Cambridge has developed a new type of carbon fiber made up of nanotubes that is some cases exceeds the performance of Kevlar. The new material has other potential uses as well, from bomb disposal bins to flexible solar panels."

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but (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21139431)

can you make better internets out of these tubes?

Re:but (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21139697)

Second post!

Yeah that's right, second post! Couldn't get first but I got second which is almost as good.

http://goat.se/ [goat.se]

Re:but (1)

DaCapn (927412) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140513)

Sorry, using a series of nanotubes to build internets only results in smaller internets.

Re:but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21140661)

Only if they manage do produce really, really large nanotubes.

Re:but (3, Insightful)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21143035)

Actually, according to TFA, networks can indeed be made using a series of tubes.

But the new material could also find applications in the area of hi-tech "smart" clothing, bomb-proof refuse bins, flexible solar panels, and, eventually, as a replacement for copper wire in transmitting electrical power and signals.
I could really see a use for such a resilient material in the more earthquake-prone areas, as opposed to fiber which would probably snap in a lot of situations.

Re:but (4, Informative)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144577)

One of my fellow students in university (I have a physics degree, he had double major physics, applied math, followed with MSc (Physics), PhD Math, a fairly bright guy ;) ), anyways, his PhD thesis was solving electron quantum states in carbon nano-tubes. Properties he mentioned were, they are superconducting in one direction, and have total internal reflection (what causes fiber optics to be useful). So yes they will make a better internet. They also could make better electronics in general (no resistance = electrons moving as fast as they possibly can with the applied voltage).

Re:but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21145023)

they are superconducting in one direction
Does that mean the wires would act like diodes? Also, would such a wire need shielding? The way I'm picturing it, it would only conduct along its length and on the inside.

Re:but (1)

Hamoohead (994058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144499)

Can you imagine a beowulf cluster of those?

multiple uses? (3, Funny)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139451)

So, i'm wearing this suit... it's broad daylight and i'm charging my phone and stuff from the solarpanel effect that the nanotube suit has. I see a bomb, take my suit off, wrap it around the bomb. Waahoo! I just saved the day and charged my phone at the same time!

Re:multiple uses? (1)

cumin (1141433) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139589)

Screw multiple uses, if it saves me from dying when I get shot, I'm all for it. If it happens to be better than kevlar for that, and lighter, then heck yeah. I'm probably not going to get drafted, but if I were ever put into combat, then I know I'll be hoping they're passing this out.

Multiple uses is great, but really, make it good for one thing only, stopping bullets and you've got a sale.

Re:multiple uses? (4, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140349)

Think the army is actually going to make 200k suits of this stuff?

A better way to stop people from getting shot in wartime is to not be in stupid wars.

Re:multiple uses? (1)

Forge (2456) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140653)

Stop picking on Bush.

He had to invade Iraq to drive oil prices to a new record high. This while his family is in the oil business.

That dose NOT look stupid to me. Callus and selfish perhaps but not stupid. Don't let his speech dysfunction fool you. For all we know that is a well rehearsed act to stop people from looking to carefully at his self serving "dumb" decisions.

Re:multiple uses? (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140663)

Unfortunately, we're not in a war. No war has been declared. I believe it's a resolution.

Re:multiple uses? (2, Insightful)

cumin (1141433) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140699)

You distinguish "stupid wars," but somehow I'm not convinced that everyone will agree with you about which ones are stupid. If I'm going to get shot at, yeah, I want one of these and I don't care who thinks the war is stupid or whether it is technically a war or not. I care about not dying.

Re:multiple uses? (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21141949)

The majority of Americans are in agreement about this one, and the overwhelming majority of the most educated Americans are in agreement.

Re:multiple uses? (1)

bhiestand (157373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21145149)

Thanks, it's always nice to see that slashdot hasn't become entirely filled with idiots. This topic has nothing to do with any individual war or political problem the trolls/idiots are pissed off about. It is only about giving military and law enforcement a better way to delay dying, and I'm all for that. Anybody who has ever worn the current Class IV monstrosities knows exactly why we need something better and lighter.

Re:multiple uses? (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21146331)

Carbon nanotubes are *expensive* to manufacture. If the resources spent outfitting the entire infantry with these were instead spent on preventing unnecessary wars, the military would have a better way of delaying dying. Hell, a better way to save the lives of infantrymen would be to take the money spent on nanotube armor and instead spend it on twice as many troops.

The only people who really benefit from this sort of thing are the contractors who fiddle with it.

If this stuff does become widespread the main impact on the world scene will be an upswing in business for Kalashnikov, as everyone replaces their aging AK's with the new higher-caliber models capable of penetrating American armor.

Re:multiple uses? (2, Insightful)

bhiestand (157373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21146559)

Carbon nanotubes are *expensive* to manufacture. If the resources spent outfitting the entire infantry with these were instead spent on preventing unnecessary wars, the military would have a better way of delaying dying.
1) Boy armor isn't just for "the entire infantry"
2) War is inevitable. It is the military's job to survive the war, defeat the enemy, and come home to their families/jobs/communities
3) It's nice to have stuff that will save your life when war happens

Hell, a better way to save the lives of infantrymen would be to take the money spent on nanotube armor and instead spend it on twice as many troops.
Sure, that sounds like a great idea. While we're at it, let's just sell their current body armor so we can quadruple the number of troops. And maybe if we take away the rest of their equipment, we can have tens of millions of troops! That worked well for other countries in the past, right?

The only people who really benefit from this sort of thing are the contractors who fiddle with it.
Not the people who survive getting shot or having an IED explode outside of their armored vehicle.

If this stuff does become widespread the main impact on the world scene will be an upswing in business for Kalashnikov, as everyone replaces their aging AK's with the new higher-caliber models capable of penetrating American armor.
Congratulations, you appear to have learned something about the history of military weapons and countermeasures.

And to respond to your entire post, you are exactly the kind of person I was talking about. You have no idea what you're talking about, and want to turn a technical discussion into a political one. The whole point of America's military system is that increased communication, technology, equipment, and training reduce the number of soldiers you need to accomplish an objective. This lowers the financial and political costs in the long run. Nearly every service member deployed to a combat zone SHOULD have body armor regardless of whether or not you think they should be in the combat zone. Every service member who COULD deploy to a combat zone should have a full set of body armor and IPE sitting somewhere with his name on it. Otherwise you end up with the situation where only soldiers who can afford to buy their own get to take body armor to war.

So if you want to drop the political garbage, appeals to emotion, and nonsense, let's talk about the merit of nanotube armor. Surely if this armor was only slightly more expensive than the current materials, it would be worth it. If it cost $20m a set, it wouldn't be. Of course, we don't have any of that information because this article is really a "hey, cool new tech coming eventually" article. In other words, it's not worth getting your panties ruffled over, and certainly not worth making a fool of yourself over.

Re:multiple uses? (1)

XL70E3 (574496) | more than 6 years ago | (#21143931)

Yes, i was thinking the same while reading that disconcerting study by the UN: http://www.unep.org/geo/geo4/report/GEO-4_Report_Full_en.pdf [unep.org] [http://www.unep.org/geo/geo4/media/index.asp] its about time we stop hitting on each other and find some solutions.. but hey, i know it's pretty idealistic and won't happen anytime soon.

Looks Familiar (4, Insightful)

DumbSwede (521261) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139465)

I know it's inevitable and I want our troops protected, but its ironic how much this looks like the garb worn by the enforcer types in dozens of dystopia movies. One key to waging war is to dehumanize the enemy in the eyes or your citizens and fighting force. It will be far easier for our adversaries to paint our troops as inhuman.

Re:Looks Familiar (5, Insightful)

rastilin (752802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139577)

It doesn't look any different from the armour already worn by SWAT teams. The only real difference between this and the normal soldier's armour, to me at least, is the face plate. You could remove that if you were ok with shrapnel in the eyes.

Re:Looks Familiar (3, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139601)

It doesn't look any different from the armour already worn by SWAT teams.

Exactly.

Enforcer types from dystopias, just like the GPP said.

Re:Looks Familiar (4, Funny)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139619)

The motorcycle style helmet does hint at "low budget dystopias" though.

Re:Looks Familiar (1)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140583)

Motorcycle helmets aren't low budget. Ever see V for Vendetta? The soldiers at the end were all wearing paintball masks. Really shitty ones too.

Re:Looks Familiar (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139609)

I know it's inevitable and I want our troops protected, but its ironic how much this looks like the garb worn by the enforcer types in dozens of dystopia movies.

They're just fitting in with the modern trend. In the time I've lived here in Cambridge, the average police uniform has gone from the friendly, lots-of-white Police Service garb to the almost-all-black Police Force look of today. This has, of course, been happening in parallel with the systematic erosion of individual rights and increases in summary powers for the police, all with the backing of both our national government and, in some cases, our local councils. It would be sadly ironic if police officers became even more invulnerable^Wisolated due to an invention from our very own university.

Re:Looks Familiar (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140557)

Yes.. The designers of police uniforms incorporate reflections of "erosions of individual rights etc" into their uniforms.

Re:Looks Familiar (4, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140625)

In the time I've lived here in Cambridge, the average police uniform has gone from the friendly, lots-of-white Police Service garb to the almost-all-black Police Force look of today.


Yes, because an all-white uniform [geocities.com] is so much friendlier.

Chris Mattern

Re:Looks Familiar (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21141253)

"Look at those blast marks ... only Imperial Storm Troopers could be so precise" - Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Re:Looks Familiar (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 6 years ago | (#21141401)

And yet they can't hit anything!

Re:Looks Familiar (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21142371)

Except for the A-Team, the world's only "crack commando unit" who can't actually shoot anyone until they've had several series of training, that is... :-)

Re:Looks Familiar (1)

abug (1082487) | more than 6 years ago | (#21143333)

Did you just slashdot the geocities site of somebody you didn't like? If so, nice.

Re:Looks Familiar (1)

zenkonami (971656) | more than 6 years ago | (#21142203)

I was thinking almost exactly that. At least in regards to law enforcement, I find the all black uniforms simply serve to make them look threatening. I understand that in an encounter they don't want to give any impression of vunerability or weakness, but these people are human (most of them, anyway) and their job is to serve the public. At this rate I'd rather see (visually speaking) the military show up in their respective typical colors than cops in all black. Psychologically, that's kind of scary.

Now I'll kick back and wait for the troll to ask if I'd prefer Superman Red and Blue...

Re:Looks Familiar (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21142347)

At least in regards to law enforcement, I find the all black uniforms simply serve to make them look threatening. I understand that in an encounter they don't want to give any impression of vunerability or weakness, but these people are human (most of them, anyway) and their job is to serve the public.

The thing is, in this country we used to have policing by consent. That had some major advantages, not the least of which was that the police commanded the respect of the public they served, and members of the public could generally be relied upon to help them. Today, it's increasingly a them-and-us culture the closer to the top you get, thanks in no small part to an increasing number of silly laws pushed through by politicians but lacking popular support: everything from excessive stop-and-search to "road safety" laws based on cameras and fines rather than real police stopping people who are really dangerous. As the saying goes, any bad law serves to bring all law into contempt, and this has a direct effect on the way the front line beat officers are perceived.

At this rate I'd rather see (visually speaking) the military show up in their respective typical colors than cops in all black. Psychologically, that's kind of scary.

The sad irony of that comment is that the military actually do seem to understand the importance of relating to the people they are there to help. Witness the actions of the British army in Iraq, when they deliberately did things like going out to meet the people there, wearing caps instead of armoured helmets. They have the helmets for when they're needed, but the guys at the top made the decision not to present the face of an oppressor, and for a while it actually worked (and it when they had to switch back, that wasn't the reason).

Compare and contrast with the aforementioned police force, who seem to be actively cultivating a "we're scarier than you are" aura and the fear of the populace rather than their respect. It's the wrong call, IMNSHO, and after letting it go too far for the past few years we're starting to see the backlash both on the street and at political levels. I'm sure they'll look great in those funky face-shields, though. It's very sad.

Re:Looks Familiar (5, Insightful)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139633)

True, and there's more to it. Inhuman beings are more frightening than humans, and if you feel inhuman, you will not feel a need to act like one.

Re:Looks Familiar (3, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139677)

It will be far easier for our adversaries to paint our troops as inhuman.

That may have benefits as well. Would you shoot something that doesn't look human and you aren't entirely sure they are going to die? If the enemy appeared to be immortal cyborgs that your (apparently) puny weapons had no affect on, would you not just be afraid of them and comply?

Re:Looks Familiar (2)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140401)

No, I'd find some way to get rid of them that didn't involve small-arms fire.

Re:Looks Familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21140539)

To put it into perspective, if they're pointing a gun at me, my normal thought would go out the window probably...

Re:Looks Familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21141187)

"If the enemy appeared to be immortal cyborgs that your (apparently) puny weapons had no affect on, would you not just be afraid of them and comply?"

Are you honestly saying that you would? If NATO comes up with an army of supermen and starts enforcing international law on everyone, you'll just smile and say "thank you?"

If I had an enemy that appeared to be an immortal cyborg, I would probably try to give the appearance of compliance for exactly as long as I could have no effect on it. I'd also spend every waking moment looking for a way to kill it and everything it stood for, at any cost. I don't think I'd care if I was right or wrong.

On the other hand, if I was dealing somone who appeared to be a person interested in us helping eachother out, or at least minding their own business so I could mind mine, we wouldn't have an issue.

Re:Looks Familiar (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#21141395)

Are you honestly saying that you would? If NATO comes up with an army of supermen and starts enforcing international law on everyone, you'll just smile and say "thank you?"

Thats not really what I am saying. Its more about psychological warfare. During WWII the US/British were horrendously afraid of Tiger tanks and would freak out and drop anything they were doing when they saw one. Of course considering that most of their guns were ineffective over the 500 meter distances, you could just imagine the dismay and fear when the US Tanks saw their Sherman tank shells bounce off the unaffected Tiger who simply looked at them blankly until it blew them away one by one. (10 Shermans to 1 Tiger was bad odds for the Shermans)

In that regard, if you shot a man square in his chest with a high powered rifle (who looked like some legion of doom member) which would kill anyone even wearing standard Kevlar, and he got back on his feet a few seconds later... Well... Wouldn't you freak the frigg out.

Re:Looks Familiar (1)

Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) | more than 6 years ago | (#21141281)

Nope, that's when you call on SG1!

Re:Looks Familiar (2, Interesting)

porpnorber (851345) | more than 6 years ago | (#21142031)

But why is your goal to make people be afraid of you and "comply"? Isn't the goal to make people friendly towards you and want to have sex/do business/stop setting fire to your cattle?

Dominating people does not make them peaceful or well-disposed towards you. This is an obvious truth that almost every individual learns from personal experience by the time they are seven. I simply do not understand why at the level of national policy, nobody seems to grasp it.

Re:Looks Familiar (1)

jeko (179919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21143711)

Our exact problem is that almost nobody learns this lesson by seven, or seventy, or if the scifi/fantasy authors are to be believed, seven hundred. The last guy who came out with this train of thought got crucified, and the majority of his followers are still saying, "yeah, but what He really meant was to do unto them after you kick their ass..."

"Make people friendly to you?" Hell, we can't even get people as far as Will Smith's attitude in MIB -- "Don't start nuthin', won't be nuthin'."

Re:Looks Familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21142975)

Well, sure. I'd be loading bodies and running the disposal units night and day, at least up until the point where we're that close to going out for ever, and one man shows us how to fight, to storm the wires of the camps, and smash those metal motherfuckers into junk.

Re:Looks Familiar (3, Insightful)

Anomolous Cowturd (190524) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139827)

Your troops are enforcer types in a dystopian reality. While I'm always thrilled to see advances in materials science, and happy to see people that little bit safer, if your troops just stayed home we could use their armor for solar panels and I'd be even happier.

Re:Looks Familiar (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139937)

You are quite right...

But if you live in the People's Democratic Republic of (formerly Great) Britain you must surely already realize that you already live in a dystopia. The police in the streets here already wear body armor and are already watching everyone on big brother cameras.

Add to that: no right to freedom of speech, no right to freedom of assembly, thought crime, Government controlled media, mind control by fear generation through creation of irrational abstract enemies like pedophiles, etc, etc, etc...

The only real difference is that you are free to leave -- for now. Assuming you have enough credit in an over-priced economy that's designed to keep you in the red, are sober enough long enough to figure out where the airport is, and one of the few people thin enough to fit on an aircraft seat.

Re:Looks Familiar (2, Funny)

ben0207 (845105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140479)

Sorry everyone, he gets like this when his tinfoil hat is on too tight.

Re:Looks Familiar (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21142355)

Freedom to leave a particular country is increasingly immaterial.

Re:Looks Familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21140039)

ya, people that would strap explosives onto their person and walk into a crowded market seem so human, I can see how you could confuse the two

Re:Looks Familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21140419)

"looks like the garb worn by the enforcer types in dozens of dystopia movies..."

Because in dystopia movies they make enforcers look like our current police force...

The correlation is pretty much correct, but the other way around.

Re:Looks Familiar (1)

Mousit (646085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140575)

My first thought on seeing the picture was "Wow, looks just like a Combine soldier". Which could be a joke you laughingly shrug off, but at the same time is rather disturbing. An inhuman occupying force. Think about it.

Re:Looks Familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21141129)

they could always make the suits pink and put smiling unicorns all over it

Actually, it may be better (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21142251)

It will be far easier for our adversaries to paint our troops as inhuman.
Right now, our adversaries paint us as Americans being lead by an idiot that we voted for. When they looked down the sight, the do not see something inhuman. They see an American. And at this moment, they HATE us.

Well.. (0, Redundant)

The Creator (4611) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139467)

These could never be used against Japan..

Pointless (4, Insightful)

Kamrom (609839) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139493)

Why develop new body armor, when our soldiers still can't get the stuff made several years ago?

Re:Pointless (4, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139787)

For one thing, because it simply isn't true that we can't get it to them. We just can't supply them at the rate we ought to at the price we are willing to pay. It boils down to the fact that the number of lives saved isn't worth it to the US taxpayer, or at least the ones that vote.

For another, just because it is "got to them" doesn't mean it stays got. Every time a ceramic armor plate takes a bullet, it ought to be replaced. Even just being knocked around can probably weaken the armor. Durability is the reason the flexible glued ceramic disk armor might not be the best choice for an environment like Iraq.

For yet another, fabric based armor makes it possible to protect areas that you can't with ceramic armor: the hands, the head. There was a report on NRP about the unusual number of fatalities suffered by police this year. The bad guys have adjusted to the fact that the police wear body armor and take a head shot before the cop realizes he needs to draw his gun.

Finally, production of fabric armor an probably be scaled more cheaply than ceramic plates. You start with a vat of organic goo, draw threads out of it, spin them into thread and weave them into garments. You can make as large a "plate" as you need by setting up long warp yarns and weaving a longer strip of cloth. Think of a set of drapes: you could produce armored drapes if you wanted to. By contrast with ceramic you have to fire each plate in an oven. To make a larger plate, you need a larger oven and presumably getting a uniform result is trickier. To ramp up the production line, you need more or larger ovens. To overcome these problems, you could make lots of small plates, but then joining them becomes a problem.

If you could make fabric armor that was just as good a ceramic plate armor (doubtful, but imagine that you could), it is certain to be cheaper and faster to produce, provided you are making enough.

Re:Pointless (4, Insightful)

jefu (53450) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140287)

It boils down to the fact that the number of lives saved isn't worth it to the US taxpayer, or at least the ones that vote.

Most taxpayers are already paying for the war and associated expenses. I suspect many would be not displeased to put money into actually saving troops rather than (to pick a couple of examples) paying mercenary armies who don't pay their own taxes, or paying corrupt contractors building the US embassy with (semi-)slave labor, or paying the CIA to run secret prisons where they can torture with impunity, or paying Haliburton so Cheney can make a profit.

Re:Pointless (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140423)

If you put it that way, of course, virtually all US taxpayers would agree.

However, I submit that until the voters aren't swayed one way or the other on an issue by how it is framed, they don't really care about that issue.

There isn't a clear dividing line, of course, because the framing always matters a little. It is a matter of degree, but even so it is perfectly possible to detect clear disinterest or clear interest in many cases. Most voters, for example, truly care about their own taxation rate. It doesn't matter how the issue is framed, they aren't going to vote to raise their own taxes (with many individual exceptions of course). Therefore it is clear that US voters on the whole care about their taxation rate. On the Iraq war, I think voters switched between caring in the last presidential election to caring in the interim election.

If voters are swayed one way or the other on body armor by arguments that the Democrats are engaging in class warfare or the Republicans are feathering the nests of their cronies, then in effect they don't really care about the armor. Granted, both arguments engage in fallacies of distraction, but that in fact makes my point: body armor drops off their radar screen or onto their radar screen only as an appendage to something the really care about, like party affiliation.

So if the troops aren't getting what they need, the shame is on the US voter, and they can't evade it by blaming those nasty politicians.

I know I've probably stepped over the bounds of my usual irony into the realm of cynicism, but I don't see that a claim that voters have cared very much about what happens to the troops can be supported in any logically consistent way. Is slapping a yellow ribbon on the back of your SUV (magnetic for easy removal) really proof that you care? I think things are changing, but up until recently US electorate caring for the troops has been all about lip service.

Re:Pointless (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 6 years ago | (#21143627)

To overcome these problems, you could make lots of small plates, but then joining them becomes a problem.
It's called Scale Armour [wikipedia.org] and it's been invented before.

Why keep repeating this meme? (3, Informative)

Soulfader (527299) | more than 6 years ago | (#21141075)

Everyone has at least an Interceptor vest. No American service member goes overseas without one. I'm in the National Guard, and even us bastard red-headed stepchildren of the war effort get full IBAs with the side plates and shoulder shrapnel protection--more armor than most of us want or need.

(More on the IBA [globalsecurity.org] .)

Yes, there are newer and better things out there. And many troops are wearing them already--or were when I was in Afghanistan last year. Presumably more have them now. Could they get the newer and better stuff to the troops faster? Perhaps. Look into it. Make a valid argument. But stop trotting out the old "troops can't get any armor" BS.

Re:Why keep repeating this meme? (1)

wtansill (576643) | more than 6 years ago | (#21143437)

Uhh -- we keep repeating this meme because, until informed by those such as yourself with more up-to-date information, we don't know that the meme is no longer operative. I was a small investor in DHB, a body armor company a while back, and last I heard, shortages were widespread.

Yes, there are newer and better things out there. And many troops are wearing them already--or were when I was in Afghanistan last year.
Would you care to elaborate on what the newer/better stuff is? For instance -- I've done some reading about fabrics soaked in shear thickening fluids that stiffen on impact and have the potential to dispense with the SAPIs altogether, but last I heard, these were not approved for field use. Also, a product using overlapping ceramic plates (Dragonskin, I think?) was tested, but did not fare well. Anything else out on the horizon or in use now? I'd be interesed in knowing. Thanks!

The white man, yet again... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21139495)

Gee... I wonder if this was invented by BLACKS?
How come everybody here knows it WASN'T, and COULDN'T have been, invented by blacks, yet you all claim "We're all the same?"

Re:The white man, yet again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21139581)

Whoever modded parent troll please read the moderator guidelines as you clearly don't know the difference between troll & flamebait (which is what parent is, as it's a racist remark)

I've seen that photo before.. (1)

eniac42 (1144799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139515)

Why its the brand new Hudzen-10, come to replace Kryten on a service contract..
What do you mean, there is no Silicon Heaven? Where do all the Calculators go?

Bomb disposal bins (4, Funny)

wlad (1171323) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139547)

...so that's where they dispose of used bombs?

Re:Bomb disposal bins (1)

finnw (415539) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139631)

I'm not quite sure what they mean but I doubt the nanotube fibre is supposed to contain a bomb blast. Perhaps it's a new casing material for a product like this one [aigis.co.uk] .

from here [sciencemuseum.org.uk] :

Unlike normal litter bins that shatter into thousands of pieces of shrapnel during an explosion the outside cover of this bin will break away into three or four large pieces while the bin itself remains intact. It means that if hit by one of the pieces at the most any passer by would only suffer from is mild bruising.
The "mild bruising" bit sounds a bit far fetched ("mild incineration" more likely?) but maybe a nanotube casing would stay in one piece which would be an improvement.

Re:Bomb disposal bins (1)

Simian Road (1138739) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140395)

I think I they are referring to the container they use to carry a bomb to the bomb disposal van. If they've decided that it is safe to move the bomb, they will try and move it to a secure location and do a controlled detonation rather than risk peoples lives defusing it.

A couple of unlucky guys have to carry the bomb from the site to the bomb truck, they would use one of these bins to contain the bomb while they do that. It may not be 100% effective but it's sure as hell better than just carrying the bomb with your bare hands!

so all we need to defeat it is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21139583)

...a strobelight/flash gun?
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2219.html [newscientist.com]

Exposed bits.. (2, Informative)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139603)

It isn't the bits behind the vest that are the problem anymore (mostly). Its the arms legs and brain that are getting all the damage.

Re:Exposed bits.. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139625)

Sadly, it is the bits behind the vest that are the problem for several British troops killed in places like Iraq each year because they hadn't been supplied with the right body armour or had been required to return it so other troops with greater perceived need could have it.

I'm no fan of the war in Iraq or the politicians behind it, but if we're going to send our boys and girls into a dangerous situation like that, you'd think giving them the best equipment available would be the least we could do. Hopefully with this being a home-grown invention, it might go some way to protecting them better.

Solar Panels??? (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139643)

Why Solar Panels??? What does this have to do with generating power?
Is it because the oil-crazy nuts would shoot at the solar panels???

On a more serious note, a Gel nanotube would better absorb the shocks.

Re:Solar Panels??? (1)

tknn (675865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139679)

I imagine if it is backed with a dilatant fabric it might actually be relatively comfortable compared to modern body armour.

Re:Exposed bits.. (1)

Gigaflynn (1008043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140789)

but if they can make armour that is lighter and thinner, they can make arm and head armour too, thats the gist I got from this article

Sooo... (5, Funny)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139637)

Will it blend ?

Only part of the problem. (2, Interesting)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139685)

Listening to an NPR program on battlefield recovery, I got to thinking how the soldiers on the field could be given a better chance for a full recovery if they recieved medical care sooner. Well, they're already getting emergency treatment to stabilize them within 30 minutes. But if they got it sooner, well just imagine. So I got to thinking, what would any soldier have with them that could administer treatment incase of wound? Why, their armor. Let's take these nano-tubes for a moment, and "fill them" with advanced hole and wound sealant technology? Why, the moment a soldier was shot, their wound would be patched, as the breaking of the tubes themselves would release the treatment. Add in an auto-administrator of medication to keep the soldier going till he could get to the hospital, I'd imagine full recoveries would go up, wouldn't you?

Re:Only part of the problem. (2, Funny)

MSZ (26307) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139855)

Also don't forget remote-controlled injector of stimulant+painkiller+adrenaline, so that, at the press of the button, they would rise, dripping blood and shredded guts, and attack the enemy without mercy. Then we'll only need a fluffy white cat to be delivered to the commander of such Legions of Doom.

Now seriously, some of what you propose could probably be done. I doubt that it would be really efficient, as these tubes aren't big enough to hold a significant amount of whatever substance inside.

Re:Only part of the problem. (1)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139979)

individually, you'd be right. But considering the sheer amount of tubes we're talking about, would be more than possible.

Re:Only part of the problem. (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140173)

sure, but don't forget the weight.
liquids are awfully heavy and modern soldiers already need to lift so much equipment that their body weight doubles.

Re:Only part of the problem. (2, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140649)

You'll need 100 Minerals and 100 Vespene to reserach the Stim Pack upgrade.

Chris Mattern

Re:Only part of the problem. (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144079)

Of course they didn't really come into their own until brood war when someone realised medics who could deal with the damage caused by the stimpacks were a good idea.

Re:Only part of the problem. (1)

zyxwvutsr (542520) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140767)

Let's take these nano-tubes for a moment, and "fill them" with advanced hole and wound sealant technology? Why, the moment a soldier was shot, their wound would be patched, as the breaking of the tubes themselves would release the treatment
Well, not really. The body armor would stop the bullet and there would be no puncture wound: that's the whole point. Also, most of the wounds in Iraq are from IEDs, and involve wounds to extermities not covered by body armor (arms, legs, neck, etc.)

Re:Only part of the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21140925)

That's not really feasible. Remember, nanotubes are by definition nano - the space inside the 'tube' is roughly the size of just one or two atoms! The more particular problem with the idea, though, is that if something's pierced the armor, it would be extremely difficult and unlikely that the wound could be quickly stabilized by just having the armor ooze out some sealant. The likelihood of hemorrhaging would be too great to easily seal something like that, plus it would make diagnosis more difficult once the soldier reached emergency care. As things stand, I don't think you could easily surpass the current system of care without giving all soldiers pretty in depth training in field medicine, so that your buddies could start administering treatment as soon as you were shot.

Re:Only part of the problem. (1)

AgentPaper (968688) | more than 6 years ago | (#21141055)

Marines and Navy corpsmen already carry packets of a material called QuickClot - it's a rapid coagulant that will seal just about any bleeding injury within a few seconds. There have been cases where guys were shot through the neck, treated themselves (!) with this stuff and lived. Between that and the self-sealing, self-applicable dressing for sucking chest wounds, your average G.I. Joe or Jane can survive just about any wound to the point of first care. The problem is definitive treatment - putting the injured soldier back together to the point where he or she can serve again, or failing that, function adequately in the civilian world. As a result of saving so many of these guys that would have died on the field thirty or forty years ago, we're now seeing a whole new crop of battlefield injuries that weren't known before because people didn't survive to develop them before. Traumatic brain injury and peripheral nerve damage is a biggie, as are multiple amputations, short bowel syndrome from abdominal wounds, and chronic cardiopulmonary deficits from chest wounds.

We're pretty good at trauma care nowadays. What we're still learning is rehabilitation care.

Re:Only part of the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21144049)

The Army thought about it, but it was too expensive. Most fun was the bio-sensor to measure body temperature, pulse, blood pressure, etc. It was an anal probe. Most interesting part was that it could automatically put pressure on wounds and shunt blood to keep soldiers alive even if there was no medical treatment for hours...

Wearing enough (5, Informative)

Strange Ranger (454494) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139719)

No matter the material, body armor only works when you wear enough of it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/07/politics/07armor.html [nytimes.com]

Almost from the beginning, some soldiers asked for additional protection to stop bullets from slicing through their sides. In the fall of 2003, when troops began hanging their crotch protectors under their arms, the Army's Rapid Equipping Force shipped several hundred plates to protect their sides and shoulders. Individual soldiers and units continued to buy their own sets.


And a year and a half later (after above article):
http://www.bakesalesforbodyarmor.org/ [bakesalesf...yarmor.org]

Health Concerns (3, Interesting)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139725)

Might there not be a health concern/issues with nanotube or nano-anything (yes that was technical!), being used? Their structures are so small our immune systems can't block it and it might adhere to cell walls more than we
'd ever want to. Wearing such body armor, which would stop speeding bullets, IEDs, mines, rockets from injuring soldiers might not be a good idea. The injury from the enemy fire might not be the only concern.

Re:Health Concerns (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21140505)

Yes, I mean nano carbon tubes is FAR more dangerus then graphite(bike oil) I mean it's got the word nano in it, and we all know that the word nano totaly went beserk and killed 50 people last year.

On a serius note. Carbon Nano tubes don't have the same "could be dangerus" stamp as nanosized manmade particles, since they aren't nanosized. They may have a nanometer diameter, but they can be as long as several centimeters.
And again the danger of nanosized particles isn't that they are nanosized, it's simply that they are normaly (the ones that are a health issue) of a material that's a health issue.

And the whole "nanocover"-scandale when Germans got sick from using hydrophobic sprays to make windows dirtprof wasn't due to the particles being nanosized "Thus able to pass though our body!!!" It's simply because they inhaled it. Anyone should be smart enough to know that you should inhale something that's meant to supply a hydrophobic cover unless you want hydrophobic lungs.

No need for nanotubes. (3, Informative)

muttoj (572791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139835)

nano tubes will in some cases exceed the performance of Kevlar.
New existing materials as Dyneema and Taeki5 already exceed the performance of kevlar by a long shot.

Toxicity is an important consideration (1)

laing (303349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140037)

Buckyballs have a tendancy to shred your lungs. If a "bullet proof" vest made of this stuff took a hit and saved a person's life, the resulting expulsion of material from the vest might create a toxic cloud which would just as readily kill the wearer (and anybody else nearby).

--
This space for rent

Re:Toxicity is an important consideration (1)

TheThirdRider (956714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140315)

SWNT can be toxic, in fact they can be very hazardous. Now I'm not completely sure about single walled, but I know multi walled CNTs, when they are functionalized as to by hydrophilic, can have their the toxicity drop to what the researchers saw to be safe levels. I'd find links but I don't have time.

I Call Bullshit (5, Insightful)

TheThirdRider (956714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140285)

Or at least partial BS. I work at a nanotube R&D lab and one of the things we're working on (which I am personally involved with) is making carbon nanotube thread. I've read over and discussed the very paper that is mentioned in the article; also I've looked at what the University of Texas at Dallas is doing. Pulling SWCNTs (single walled carbon nanotubes) from a furnace does not create the same level strength due to the tight wrapping of CNTs as using van der Waals forces present in aligned MWCNTs (multi walled carbon nanotubes) when pulling thread from an aligned forest of nanotubes. While the individual tubes are stringer than almost anything, they do not adhere well to each other and tend to slide apart when in a rope. C They may have some fibers that are stronger than Kevlar, I've made some myself infact. But it was only that strong in comparison when measuring Young's modulus because it was so small as to be neutrally buoyant in air and nearly invisible to the human eye. And, unfortunately, so far that strength doesn't scale. So, yes they probably have made super fibers, but I highly doubt they are usable for the applications they are claiming.

Re:I Call Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21140551)

But there are applications that don't require much lateral attachment of strands, such as kernmantle ropes. Admittedly, I don't know how dynamic these strands are (stretchy), but they could offer a new material for climbing ropes (If it can match the durability and weight of nylon).

Yes, but does it (1)

yoprst (944706) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140317)

stop nanotube bullets?

Counter-Strike (1)

p0 (740290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140435)

how long before they come to Counter-Strike??

uhmmm... (1)

sjs132 (631745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21141019)

made of nanotubes that is some cases exceeds the performance of Kevlar.

Nothing personal, but if I'd have to wear it, I'd want it to exceed the performace of Kevlar in ALL CASES! - *Cough...*

Maximum Armor (2, Funny)

Xfacter (1075973) | more than 6 years ago | (#21141039)

Why hasn't this been tagged 'crysis' yet?

"stronger than kevlar" not so special. (1)

bombastinator (812664) | more than 6 years ago | (#21141203)

"stronger than kevlar in some instances should not be necessarily be taken as a great leap forward.

For a while now there have been products that significantly out perform kevlar strength wise. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7038702.stm

In fact this is not even the first time that such stuf has been discused on slashdot http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/23/1817216

There are also many common materials that outperform kevlar in some applications, including technora, which is commonly used in fan belts
http://www.ullmansails.com/fiberpath.html

Word on the street (1)

retrogameguy (1096733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21143693)

Word on the street - these vests are easy defeated by the new nanotube bullets.

What about motorbikes? (1)

javilon (99157) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144199)

Do you guys think that this kind of protection could one day be used to build bikers protecting garments?

It's not a big truck... (1)

TheBeowulf (916247) | more than 6 years ago | (#21145653)

...The armor is a series of tubes.
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