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Electromagnetic Reactive Armor

Armor which switches on to magnetically connect plates to distribute impact
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The armor is composed of a large number of loosely connected plates that are contoured to the body of the wearer. Each is a thin sandwich of thin metal on the outside, then a insulator, then a thicker inner plate. Each piece contains a capacitor which is charges from a central battery and is connected to all adjacent pieces. When a projectile presses the surface layer through the insulator contact is made and the capacitor charge is activated, magnetically locking the adjacent plates to the one that was struck. Edge connections could be made with radial teeth to allow for a variety of locking angles. The original idea I had was for muscle wire to do this locking, but it is way to slow. Problems include charge time on capacitors for multiple impacts and disconnection of the original contact (as there is a substantial chance that the surface plate will be deformed by the initial impact).

Possible improvements could include programmed patterns that would insure more body integrity during impact, like always activating neck and shoulder areas during strikes to the head to avoid neck trauma from impact (a sort of virtual flinch), or stabilizing lateral aspects of legs to avoid knee wrenching.

paru, Aug 15 2006

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       Spreading the load is nice, makes the impact hurt less, but this doesn't provide any extra protection against impact. Think about it. A bullet will pass clean through, however the impact force imparted as the bullet penetrates the plate are spread through your torso..   

       I'd be really grateful for that.   

       Fibrous armour is used because the sheer (-little mech eng pun in there, see if you got it) strength of the fibres resists the bullet penetrating, a coincident benefit being that the impact force is spread out over a large area. Or at least that is my understanding.
Custardguts, Aug 15 2006
  

       Perhaps this would be suited to milder kinetic problems, like big sticks, or orthopedic trauma.   

       My limited understanding of modern body armor is that the hard bits either shatter (ceramics) providing dissipation via fracture energy, or are hard (steel plates) and distribute impact in the context of a kevlar vest (long strong fibers), which both distributes impact and tangle up the bullet.   

       If this idea were done in conjunction with strong fiber layers (inner and outer), I think it would improve upon the current distribution of energy offered by discrete plates. I guess if you really wanted to go nuts your could include ceramic elements, but I think it would weigh a ton and be much harder to fix.   

       Perhaps this would be better suited to bomb squad type use. Hmmm.
paru, Aug 15 2006
  

       Inside out (thick external plates, thin internal plates) would be counterintuitive but would work.
contracts, Aug 15 2006
  

       Sounds like it would be great against any sort of blunt object like a club or candlestick, (Bet the guys in clue wish they had this.) but would be effectively pointless against anything with a sharp point.
Wingmaster, Jan 09 2007
  
      
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