Sunday February 19, 2017

Origami-Inspired Shield Absorbs Handgun Bullets

Brigham Young University engineers have crafted an incredible alternative to steel-based bulletproof barriers, which generally weigh close to 100 pounds and are impractical to lug around. Taking inspiration from origami, this shield not only weighs half as light but is fully effective in stopping bullets (of the 9 mm, .357 Magnum, and .44 Magnum variety, at least). They can also be expanded in about five seconds.

The barrier Howell and his colleagues designed is made of 12 layers of bulletproof Kevlar and weighs only 55 pounds (many of the steel-based barriers in current use approach 100 pounds). The BYU-built barrier uses a Yoshimura origami crease pattern to expand around an officer, providing protection on the side in addition to protecting them in the front. In testing, the barrier successfully stopped bullets from 9 mm, .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum pistols."Those are significant handguns with power," Howell said. "We suspected that something as large as a .44 Magnum would actually tip it over, but that didn’t happen. The barrier is very stable, even with large bullets hitting it."