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Industry Insights|Researchers from Rice University Create Polymer Bulletproof Cube by 3D-Printing

Researchers from Rice University have created a special structure with some sort of defense capability, a grid-like polymer cube through 3D printing technology. Although it seems to be "ridden", it has been proven to be almost as hard as diamonds, which can effectively block bullets.

The starting point for this experimental material was tubulane, which was first conceived in 1993 was a complex structure composed of crosslinked carbon nanotubes with incredible strength. It is now added with some fun due to 3D printing technology.

Seyed Mohammad Sajadi, the lead author of the research paper, said: "There are many theoretical systems that people cannot synthesize, and are still impractical and elusive. But with 3D printing, we can use the predicted mechanical properties because they are topologies. Not the result of size."

It is reported that the engineers at Rice University used the theory behind tubulane to create different kinds of squares through computer simulation software and then use
3D printed polymer plates to observe their performance.

The performance of these enlarged grid-like structures was tested along with solid cubes made of the same polymer material, and the results were encouraging. When the team fired the bullets at 5.8 kilometers per second, the results showed that they were 10 times more efficient at absorbing shock than ordinary cubes.


The team also underwent a stress test of the material in the laboratory, again showing the amazing durability of this particular structure, which does not crack under heavy pressure and instead collapses itself and absorbs pressure.

According to Sajadi, the size of the tubulane-inspired structure is limited only by the size of the 3D printer, and different versions made of metal, ceramic and polymer can be used for a variety of different purposes. Now, the team is working hard to further optimize the design so that it can be applied to civil engineering, aerospace, oil, and gas production.


3D printing technology makes these structures with unique in impact resistance.