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Composite materials and methods for making same

Image Number 4 for United States Patent #8128861.

Current top performing SAPI systems are B.sub.4C-containing (hot pressed B.sub.4C or reaction bonded B.sub.4C). These systems will not function well versus future WC/Co threats due to the inability of B.sub.4C to withstand high pressure impacts. New approaches will be needed for next generation SAPI ceramics. Three related concepts are disclosed herein, each of which will lead to improved reaction bonded ceramics for next generation SAPI applications. The first concept aims to reactively heat treat reaction bonded B.sub.4C, causing. SiC and SiB.sub.6 to form at the expense of B.sub.4C. The second approach will add Ti to the system, thus allowing TiC and TiB.sub.2 to form at the expense of B.sub.4C. Finally, the third concept will evaluate the use of finer particle sizes, thus improving the static properties of the ceramics (with the aim of enhancing multi-hit performance). In all cases, preliminary work has been conducted to demonstrate the viability of the concepts. This will lead to a new family of advanced armor ceramics. These new armor ceramics will allow the modern soldier to be better protected versus next generation, high level threats (e.g., high pressure WC/Co projectiles) with a more ergonomic package (lower weight, less bulk). Further, the results disclosed herein will yield improvement versus the current tool steel threats.

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