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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

25 January 2013

IBD Deisenroth - Improved Strength and Ballistic Performance at Lower Weight

IBD Deisenroth Engineering, a pioneer in bringing new technologies to the market with more than 30 years experience in the R&D of advanced high-tech survivability systems, has yet again achieved important improvements with the development of various materials needed for the production of ballistic protection kits.

Nano-Technology for Structural Vehicle Components

IBD has developed nano-composite laminates with dramatically improved strength. With these materials composite parts can be produced that can replace structural parts of a vehicle and at the same time serve as high level ballistic protection. Under the header nano-technology for structural vehicle components, the consequence of the high performance of these materials and the low density of the composite solutions is weight saving, the holy grail of any Army in theatre.

The basis for IBD’s innovation is formed via NANOTech-materials, such as nano-cristalline ceramics, nanometric steel, and NANOTech-liners. On top of that, special gluing processes were developed to produce nano-composite structural parts with significantly improved strength and ballistic performance. While having a 10% lower density than the standard laminates, the elastic properties are twice as high. This gives them the necessary strength to form the basis for composite parts that can be integrated into the vehicle structure. Furthermore it gives them the ballistic performance to deal with high threat requirements.
Having these structural composite laminates available, creates substantial potential for weight savings, and IBD approaches this in two ways.

  • The straight forward approach is to use them as add-on armour parts for mine and IED protection in wheel houses, on fenders, as mine plates, and decoupled inner floors. Being formed as three dimensional parts, they can replace other solutions that need to be assembled by welding or bolting. 
  • The new approach is the integration of composite parts as roof/engine hatches and rear doors and ramps, adding up to a large portion of the total vehicle surface, thereby significantly reducing weight. For STANAG 4569 Level 4 this saving can go up to 1,500kg on an 8x8 vehicle (see Table 1). 

Weight savings by using IBD FLEXIComp on an 8x8 vehicle. (Graphic: IBD Deisenroth)

The production process developed by IBD allows manufacturing composite parts without the use of autoclaves. These structural parts can easily be produced to fit into a vehicle’s structure. This is especially important for large parts in order to drastically cut costs, which, for the IBD composite solution, are the same as those for standard technologies.

IBD NAOTech Materials

IBD NANOTech materials are available in production quantities at competitive prices, making new design options available for protection solutions. These new products comprise nano-cristalline ceramics, nanometric steel and high strength fibres.

According to IBD, the ballistic performance of nano-ceramics and nanometric steel surpasses the properties of standard materials by far; with weight savings of more than 40% to achieve the same protection level as with standard materials. The new fibres allow the production of high temperature liners with increased strength and extended temperature range.

IBD has successfully combined nano-materials to design weight and cost optimised survivability solutions on a wide range of platforms (see picture).

Combination of IBD NANOTechnologies. The composite solution in the lower area of the vehicle was selected because of the complex curved geometry. With the design of shaped homogeneous parts it was possible to achieve a high coverage of the protected area with almost no ballistic gaps. 
(Graphic: IBD Deisenroth)

The application of IBD NANOTech and IBD FLEXIComp materials forms a quantum leap for the design of high level/low weight survivability solutions, according to the company. Combining these technologies allows for weight reductions of up to 50% on protection kits. These weight-savings can be used for higher protection levels where necessary, more payload and/or higher mobility, thereby increasing the overall survivability of the crew.

These protection solutions are completely modular, and can replace or upgrade old technologies as needed. Lower weight means less wear and tear, therefore these new technologies are also a contribution to the reduction of life cycle costs of a vehicle.

Transparent Ceramic Protection

Armoured vehicle crews need to be able to physically see threats outside of the vehicle, but today’s heavy weight armoured glass precludes its extensive use. The need for a new technology for transparent armour becomes even more evident when looking at the weight of current solutions. For example, amoured glass has an areal density of about 200kg/m2 for a protection according to STANAG 4569 Level 3. This is much higher than the weight of opaque protection solutions based on ceramics. With a typical window area of 3m2 on a truck, the weight for the armour glass is 600kg/m2. With windows located in the upper surface of most vehicles, the centre of gravity is raised, affecting the dynamic performance of the vehicle in motion.

IBD’s transparent ceramic protection is a spin-off of the development of IBD NANOTech ceramics. IBD developed special bonding processes for the assembly of ceramic tiles (called “Mosaic Transparent Armour”) and the lamination of these assemblies with strong carrier layers to form large window panels. Due to the outstanding ballistic performance of the ceramic material and the elastic absorption of the remaining kinetic energy of the threat, IBD was able to produce transparent armour panels with a drastically reduced weight. Compared to the example given above, the new technology allows reducing the weight of the transparent ceramic armour (STANAG 4569 Level 3 protection) to 56kg/m2 only. This is a reduction of 72%, reducing the weight of the above mentioned truck windows to 170 kg.

The optical performance of the new transparent ceramic protection is at least as good as that of standard armour glass. The sample with the new technology on the left does not show any bonding edges of the tile assembly. It is less tinted and shows a lower diffraction. These properties also apply in the IR region so that night vision goggles can be used as well. 
(Photo: IBD Deisenroth)

As before, IBD uses next-generation materials and modular synergistic structural approaches to provide outstanding system performance. These new advantages and especially these new technolgies are of particular interest for vehicle programmes around the world, where weight saving remains the holy grail.

15 January 2013


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