New ceramic material can help protect our troops

New ceramic material can help protect our troops

High performance ceramic material developed at MERI

Funded by the Ministry of Defence (MOD), we were tasked with creating a high performance ceramic material with potential for use in for body armour. The project was undertaken by Hywel Jones, one of our materials engineering experts, and Anthony Pick, a ceramic consultant.

By combining several ceramic systems – including a carbide, a nitride and several oxides – a new strong, hard yet light ceramic material was developed. The new product is between 15–30% lighter than other ceramic materials giving equal performance. And because it can be produced at lower temperatures and under pressureless conditions, production costs are lower through energy cost savings, and more complex shapes can be achieved.

Since developing the new material, significant investment has been secured to help get the product to market, and a new spin-out company, Xeracarb, created to maximise the opportunities. Although the product was originally created with body armour in mind, the ceramic material can be used in many other applications, such as vehicle armour and the kiln furniture market.

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