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Graphene Could Be Used To Make Powerful Body Armor

Engineers in the U.S. have shown that graphene — a remarkable material that's only 10 to 100 nanometers thick — could make for excellent body armor, absorbing 10 times the amount of energy than steel before failing.

Since its discovery in 2006, graphene has been hailed as the next big thing in materials technology. At a mere one atom thick, it is incredibly flexible, eternally stretchy, conductive, and self-cooling. Eventually, graphene could be used to produce video screens as thin and flexible as paper, super-thin cybernetic devices that can be grafted onto living tissue, and electrically conductive transmitters that can repair damaged spinal columns.

But it now appears that graphene can also be used to create super-strong body armor. A team from Rice University recently became the first to subject the material to the extreme conditions of high speed ballistics. But because the size of the graphene patches is still so small, a laser was used to accelerate a microscale silica bullet at a multilayer graphene target.