Skip to comments.High School Student Rewarded For Work With Body Armor
Posted on 12/02/2007 9:38:10 AM PST by monkeycard
A Bartlesville High School junior is reaping rewards for improving the body armor of United States troops. Melissa Carvell was awarded an $8,000 scholarship from the U.S. Navy and $1,500 from the U.S. Air Force for her efforts in reinforcing ceramic plates in body armor with carbon fibers. She was recognized during a State Board of Education meeting November 29, receiving a certificate from State Superintendent Sandy Garrett in Oklahoma City.
The body armor currently used by U.S. forces is basically comprised of ceramic plates placed inside of Kevlar sleeves. Through her research, Melissa Carvell determined the strength of the plates could be improved by more than 8,000 times by reinforcing them with carbon fibers.
The ceramic plates used in body armor are notably strong in compression but weak in tension, meaning they can shatter upon impact. Carvells idea was to reinforce the back of the plates with two layers of carbon fibers at 90-degree angles to each other.
Carvells work earned a second place finish in the Engineering Materials and Bio-Engineering category of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, held in Albuquerque in May. Carvell won a $1,500 cash prize in the science fair.
The International Science and Engineering Fair featured more than 1,500 students competing in several categories. The students hailed from more than 50 countries and territories. Among the judges were five Nobel Laureates, former Nobel Prize winners in science and engineering.
When I saw the headline, I thought a high school student had been rewarded for academic achievement by being given a set of body armor. Times being what they are, and all that.
Putting some faith back into our education.
There’s still some good teenagers out there.
She should have patented the design first. Some defense contractor witll patent it and make millions off the govt.
End Chanelling of the DUmmies.
Wow. This is really impressive. Thanks for posting.
With this level of publicity and the awards she has received for this, I suspect that anyone attempting to patent it will have to purchase the rights from her for a pretty penny.
It can not be patented now. Any attempt to do so would fail the test of “prior art”.
If this article is correct in its details, it seems remarkable that no defense contractor already thought of this. It seems like an obvious thing to do. Yes, sometimes people don’t see the obvious. Good for this young lady for trying it.
When an object strikes a surface the point of impact is in compression, a good thing in armor. The dispersal of that force places the armor in tension, forces radiating out, the carbon is glue or does it redirect the lines of force.
I wanna know how she tested it.
What the article suggests is that ceramic is good for the pressure, but not for tension. It shatters. I presume that the carbon fiber threads help that from happening, because they hold it together.
A vest that shatters would be dangerous if there is more than one bullet. The first would shatter it, and those that follow would then go right through.
Carbon fibers are known for their high tensile strength for the weight involved.
Heavens no, you don’t think this child would actually shoot a rifle, do you? She should be suspended if she has!
Ping; this is good stuff.
It would be lighter for the most part and as an Ex Grunt that is good.
Hopefully the recent Nobel winner wasn’t one of the judges or I ain’t using her invention.......:o)
Smart kids are cool !
I remember a process we used in building ballistic structures called sifcon where we would mix zig zag shapes of stainless (inox) wire in the high psi rated concrete. It stood up to lots of abuse including RPG’s, 12.7mm, small demolition charges etc ........
Wonder if such an application would work by impregnating the ceramic mix with loose carbon fibers before they are pressed into shapes would improve upon her discovery of backing the plates with carbon fiber ?
Neat stuff !
That would certainly be worthwhile to try. I suspect that’s how modern composite AFV armor works.
As an American, I’m proud of this young woman.
I know of some stuff like that being done already, but I can't say anything more about it, because I don't know any more. There are some real breakthroughs just around the corner.
Interesting concept... the requirements for body armor and vehicular armor are quite different.
most vehicular armor uses a fiber (kevlar, etc...) backing to catch a projectile after it’s energy is dissapated... strengthening the ceramic strike plate with carbon fibers is a great idea, and might reduce the cost (in $ and weight) required for backing...
I would be interested to see the additional cost in in processing the ceramic tile with carbon fiber...
I guess the question is, can you work fibers into the ceramic, or, as I suspect, is it produced at too high a temperature for that to be possible? You can work it into dacron or other kinds of plastics, but I’m not sure about ceramic.
How about as a lattice? I can see some interesting things, weight wise and with some increased resistance to penetration in a woven structure. A plate can be a chunk of something or a chunk of somethings.
Ditto.....the cost alone IMO would be better that replacing a DOA troop or LEO.
Stay safe !
I let the kitty out of the bag again !!......;O)
yes, but $s drive everything... The fact is the technology is capable of producing light-weight armor that can stop any designated threat, but your talking big $$$s that DoD will not pay...
you can have it:
pick any two...
I vote to drop "C". In the end, "C" becomes the most expensive option anyway. If the Air Force deserves its "golden bullet" aircraft, our grunts deserve nothing less for their gear, too.
We've already developed the most technologically fearsome Army and Marine Corps ever seen, even if it was unintentional. Why shortchange ourselves on the most important component?
Agree, I understand and agree 100% ........ yet we see troops buying gear out of their own pockets such as ACOG’s and then the DOD sees the good and buy em buy the thousands.
I think we’ll see lots of technical breakthroughs in the future that will be on the DOD shopping lists for the ground pounder.
My teams bought and fabricated our own gear for the most part to make our gear ultra lite and durable. We had parachute riggers and machinist’s assigned as well as National Lab sorts willing to help us where needed. We sought out new and improved gear at expositions and shows where industry was trying to sell. One of the best things we snagged off the shelf were Ops Inc Suppressors for our weapons. This old guy was making em in his garage . We learned of him thru word of mouth and sought HIM out and paid cash for our stuff.
Common for the GI to try and get the best he can get as there is no store on far off shores........
DOD needs to step up with an existence load that is well under 30 pounds without munitions or team gear.
I thought carbon is supposed to be evil.
I am so confused :(
Lots of 'em. They can be found at the robotics competitions, with the MIT and CalTech recruiters drooling about them. :) They can be found lots of other places too, like the gun range for example. Shooting and competing with rifles, pistols, and even machine guns on occasion. Here's a couple of them. They are might older now, these were taken 4 years ago, but the are still good kids and in the "heart" of their teens. They are the product of FR's own Eaker, and TheMom.
Forgot to mention that sometimes they shoot .50 caliber Sniper Rifles. :)
Oh and they are influenced by guys like this, that help to make them into "good kids".
Needless to say Texas Cowboy was the owner of the big boomer. He's now gone on to be with God and his fellow Marines, guarding the streets of heaven.