Armor: August 10, 2004


U.S. Navy researchers have discovered that polyurea, a high strength, spray-on plastic normally used to provide a non-skid surface on ship decks and truck beds, and for corrosion control, also absorbs the blast effects of bombs. About 3-4mm of polyurea was sprayed on the outside of a hummer and then a bomb was set off next to the vehicle, to recreate a roadside bomb attack in Iraq. There was much less damage inside the vehicle than when the same bomb was set off next to a hummer without the polyurea coating. The polyurea also prevents the metal body of the vehicle from splintering and turning into dangerous fragments. Had there not been a war going on in Iraq, that featured frequent attacks on unarmored vehicles, this unexpected use of polyurea would probably never have been discovered. The navy might end up coating the top side of small surface ships with the stuff, to give the crew additional protection in the event of missile or bomb attacks. The air force and army are also using polyurea as a wall coating for buildings that might be bombed. Tests have shown that the polyurea coating greatly reduces the bomb damage. Coating a hummer would cost several thousand dollars. 


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