Bulletproof T-shirts

Discovery News

How to Make a Bulletproof T-shirt

  • That T-shirt you're wearing could be more than just clothing.
  • Ordinary, cotton T-shirts could be used to create body armor.
  • The material could also be applied to produce lightweight, fuel efficient cars and aircraft.
T-shirts available at Wal-Mart could be converted into wearable armor, according to scientists from South Carolina, Switzerland and China.
The treated T-shirt would be not only bulletproof, but also resistant to ultraviolet light from the sun and life-threatening neutrons emitted by decaying radioactive materials.

Bulletproof T-shirts?

To turn cotton bulletproof, researchers from the University of South Carolina and their collaborators from China and Switzerland dipped sections of regular T-shirts (Fig 1a) in a special mix of nickel and borate. After allowing the cotton to absorb the mix for 2 hours (Fig 1b), the textile was dried quickly in an oven and cured at a high temperature for 3 hours. Once ready, the pieces of cotton were placed in a furnace and headed at 1160°C for 4 hours while continuously aerated with argon. Finally, the resulting fabric pieces (Fig 1c) were cooled and analyzed using electron microscopes and a barrage of strength tests.

Ordinary T-shirts could become body armor

A simple cotton T-shirt may one day be converted into tougher, more comfortable body armor for soldiers or police officers.

Researchers at the University of South Carolina, collaborating with others from China and Switzerland, drastically increased the toughness of a T-shirt by combining the carbon in the shirt’s cotton with boron – the third hardest material on earth. The result is a lightweight shirt reinforced with boron carbide, the same material used to protect tanks.

Dr. Xiaodong Li, USC College of Engineering and Computing Distinguished Professor in Mechanical Engineering, co-authored the recent article on the research in the journal, Advanced Materials.

Clipped from: NanoCenter :: News

The Latest from the NanoCenter

Nanocomposite Body Armor from T-Shirts

Using cotton t-shirts as both a template and a carbon source Xiaodong ("Chris") Li and colleagues from Hangzhou/China and Zurich/Switzerland were able to make  large quantities of radially-aligned high-strength B4C nanowires.

Download the paper here:

See also:

  1. How to Make a Bulletproof T-shirt : Discovery News
  2. NanoCenter :: News
  3. Bulletproof T-shirts? : Observations of a Nerd
  4. USC > CEC > Mechanical Engineering
  5. NanoCenter :: News
  1. Making 'armoured' T-shirts
  2. Boron carbide - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  3. US scientists reveal bulletproof T-shirts
  4. Process That Converts Cotton to Boron Carbide Could Create Armored T-Shirts | Popular Science
  5. Ordinary T-shirts could become body armor
  6. B4C-Nanowires/Carbon-Microfiber Hybrid Structures and Composites from Cotton T-shirts. Xinyong Tao. 2010; Advanced Materials - Wiley InterScience
  7. How to Make a Bulletproof T-Shirt | Discoblog | Discover Magazine