Tungsten Carbide and Possible Military Applications David Brice: Department of Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering and Honors College Faculty Mentor: Peter Collins, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering. ABSTRACT. LITERATURE REVIEW.
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David Brice: Department of Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering and Honors College
Faculty Mentor: Peter Collins, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering
Tungsten carbide (WC) ceramics are extremely hard and exhibit great potential for use in military application. The purpose of this project is to show that tungsten carbide (WC) is a more effective material than Kevlar or steel when used for body armor. Tungsten carbide possesses a high measure of hardness that indicates a high resistance to deformation. Also, the methods of production, namely Pulsed Current Activated Sintering (PCAS), can increase these natural properties. To conclusively prove that WC can be used as body armor components, the material must be tested by firing armor piercing munitions at samples of the material
In order to prove the superiority of tungsten carbide, an experiment was required to compare WC and current body armor materials such as Kevlar and steel plates. The experiment included the following steps:
Measure weight and dimensions of each sample to be used
Set up material in a firing range
Place pressure sensors on surface of material to be fired upon
Fire rounds of varying caliber at the material. After each strike, record data obtained by pressure sensor.
Weigh the sample that was struck by the bullet to measure any loss of mass due to spallation
Measure dimensions to measure any deformation
Note: The only drawback to using tungsten carbide is the weight. Due to tungsten carbide’s high density the material is quite heavy.
Is tungsten carbide a reliable material to use in body armor?
I believe that tungsten carbide is an ideal material for body armor, capable of resisting direct bullet strikes.
Appleby-Thomas, G.J., G. Cooper, A.M. Diederen, P.J. Hazell, K. Helaar, and C. Stennett. 2009. "Shock Propagation in a Cemented Tungsten Carbide." Journal of Applied Physics 105, no. 6 (March 15, 2009): 064916-064925. http://libproxy.library.unt.edu:2104/ehost/detail?hid=13&sid=1cb248b1-9c12-40c0-bcaf-907ddbdcae63%40sessionmgr15&vid=3&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=a9h&AN=37259328
Bowyer, Howard E., and Timothy L. Gall, ed. 1985." Powder Metallurgy." Metals Handbook Desk Edition, Page # 25.18-25.20. Metals Park, Ohio: American Society of Metals.
Michael Bauccio, Ed. 1994 ASM Engineered Materials Reference Book, Second Edition, ASM International, Materials Park, OH, http://www.matweb.com/search/GetReference.aspx?matid=166
Shon, In-Jin, Byung-Ryang Kim, Jung-Mann Doh, Jin-Kook Yoon and Kee-Do Woo.2009. "Properties of Nanostructured Tungsten Carbide and their Rapid Consolidation by Pulsed Current Activated Sintering." PhysicaScripta 2010 014043 (may 2010): 1-4 http://libproxy.library.unt.edu:3082/1402-4896/2010/T139/014043?fromSearchPage=true
Examples of current body armor systems
Figure above shows the progressive fragmentation of a bullet upon impact
Warren Burggren, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Vish Prasad, Vice President for Research and Economic Development
Gloria C. Cox, Dean, Honors College
Peter Collins, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering
Narendra Dahotre, Chair, Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Costas Tsatsoulis, Dean, College of Engineering
HNRS 1500 Classmates and Instructor,
Susan Eve, Ph.D., Associate Dean, Honors College
The table above shows the measured hardness of several materials using the Mohs scale. It is important to note that tungsten carbide hardness only surpassed by diamond.