The humble T-shirt may soon be strong enough to stop a speeding bullet.
Scientists in the U.S. have developed a flexible shirt made of the same material used in tank armor, by combining carbon in the shirt with the third-hardest material on Earth, boron.
“It could even be used to produce lightweight, fuel-efficient cars and aircrafts,” Xiaodong Li, from the University of Southern Carolina, wrote in the journal Advanced Materials.
The plain white T-shirts are dipped into a boron solution, then heated in an oven at more than 1000C, which changes the cotton fibers into carbon fibers.
The carbon fibres react with the boron solution and produce boron carbide — the same material used to make bulletproof plates in armored vests.
The resulting material was stiffer than the original cotton tee, but still flexible enough to be worn as such.
“We expect that the nanowires can capture a bullet,” Prof Li said.
But bullets are just the beginning for the new miracle material.
Prof Li said the T-shirts could also block “almost all” ultraviolet rays, and possibly life-threatening neutrons emitted from decaying radioactive material.
The humble T-shirt may soon be strong enough to stop a speeding bullet. Scientists in…
by Robert Martuszewski / Apr 12, 2010