Protein armor: Chemists have a new material that can stop supersonic impact

(ORDO NEWS) — A team of scientists from the University of Kent has created and patented a new cushioning material that could revolutionize the defense and space industries.

In the cells of our body there is a special protein talin , which performs a shock-absorbing function due to its spring-like structure.

When an external force is applied to the cell, the talin straightens out, preventing it from collapsing, and when the impact stops, it twists back.

To test whether such a protein could be used to create innovative protective materials, a group of chemists from the University of Kent (UK) polymerized talin, obtaining a new material called TSAM ( Talin Shock Absorbing Material , shock-absorbing material based on talin).

The team then demonstrated the real use of TSAM by subjecting this hydrogel material to supersonic impacts at a speed of one and a half kilometers per second – approximately the speed at which space objects collide with ship hulls and the muzzle velocity of a firearm.

Surprisingly, TSAM not only absorbed impacts, but also retained projectiles (basalt particles and aluminum shrapnel) in itself after impact.

Modern body armor mainly consists of a ceramic face layer coated with a reinforced composite: they are heavy and bulky, in addition, reflecting bullets and shrapnel, they do not protect the wearer from blunt injuries due to the force of impact.

In addition, such armor is often permanently damaged upon impact due to the compromised structural integrity of the material.

Incorporating TSAM into the body armor structure will not only increase its lifespan, but will also provide protection against a wider range of injuries, as well as make the body armor less heavy.

TSAM can also find application in astronautics – not only as a new material for ship plating, but also in the form of “space dust collectors” that clear the near-Earth space from debris, because it literally absorbs everything that hits it.

In any case, the new material has bright prospects, and it is quite possible that “protein armor” will soon go into mass production.

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