TECNALIA jointly develops a light and modular integrated body protection solution

30 April 2021
Teselas cerámicas obtenido por fabricación aditiva

Personalisation, modularity, high levels of comfort and ergonomics

TECNALIA is taking part in the development of a new light and modular integrated protection solution that incorporates CBRN detection system. The aim is to create comfortable and ergonomic protective clothing that protects security forces against a range of threats.

Some of these threats include bullet impacts and CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) threats. Current commercial ballistic systems have several disadvantages, mainly their weight, as well as inflexibility and design shortcomings due to differences in anatomy.

The solution developed as part of the VESTLIFE project includes the possibility of an increased coverage area whilst maintaining comfort, plus a weight reduction of the ballistic panels, thus ensuring optimum balance between protection and comfort. The protection adapts to different threat levels with solutions based on flexible and rigid polymeric panels for low and medium threats, and ceramic-polymeric composites for higher-level threats.

Ceramics and polymeric backing

TECNALIA has developed the ceramics and their integration into the polymeric backing. Sintering and 3D printing are used to manufacture the ceramics. The ceramics are based on B4C (boron carbide) and create an extremely lightweight system – much lighter than commercial solutions as it only has half the density. By using 3D printing to make ceramic plates, the solution can be personalised and modularised, making it highly comfortable and ergonomic.

TECNALIA also works on the selection of the polymeric backing for the ceramic plate, of the most suitable adhesive for the integration of ceramics into the protection system, and of materials and methods to encapsulate the plates. This covers the whole protection system.

The new low-cost process increases the use of the system and removes current application barriers due to its high cost. Ceramic 3D printing creates unique designs and significantly reduces the mechanising of ceramics, which is a lengthy and costly stage.

Further information

TECNALIA has worked on this project with other companies such as FY Composites, Petroceramics, Brapa, Aitex and CITEVE.