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British engineers have developed a family of proteinaceous synthetic materials capable of withstanding projectile impact at supersonic speeds. In this case, the materials effectively absorb kinetic energy. It is assumed that the novelty will find application in the military and space industries.
Scientists from the University of Kent took the unique properties of talin as a starting point for research. It is this protein that is able to absorb impact. They made a group of hydrogel materials from it, which they called TSAM.
Talin molecules contain a series of binary domains that open up under pressure but reorder when the tension is released. This property protects against negative influences. The polymerization of talin made it possible to use these qualities in new materials.
Tests have shown that TSAM is capable of absorbing the impact of a moving projectile at a speed of 1.5 kilometers per second, which is more than four times the speed of sound. A bullet fired from a firearm typically travels between 0.4 and 1 km per second, while small particles in outer space gain speeds of 1 km per second.
basalt particles with a diameter of several micrometers to large pieces of aluminum shrapnel. The material does not pass projectiles through itself, holding them after impact. Therefore, it can be used to catch space debris or to make space suits and other protective elements in outer space.
According to the researchers, TSAM also has better efficiency in absorbing the kinetic energy of bullets and shrapnel than modern analogues of armor from other materials. Bulletproof vests made from it can be lighter, more durable and better protect against damage from blunt objects.
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