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. 2018 May 15;13(4):041004.
doi: 10.1088/1748-3190/aababa.

Armours for Soft Bodies: How Far Can Bioinspiration Take Us?


Armours for Soft Bodies: How Far Can Bioinspiration Take Us?

Zachary W White et al. Bioinspir Biomim. .


The development of armour is as old as the dawn of civilization. Early man looked to natural structures to harvest or replicate for protection, leaning on millennia of evolutionary developments in natural protection. Since the advent of more modern weaponry, Armor development has seemingly been driven more by materials research than bio-inspiration. However, parallels can still be drawn between modern bullet-protective armours and natural defensive structures. Soft armour for handgun and fragmentation threats can be likened to mammalian skin, and similarly, hard armour can be compared with exoskeletons and turtle shells. Via bio-inspiration, it may be possible to develop structures previously un-researched for ballistic protection. This review will cover current modern ballistic protective structures focusing on energy dissipation and absorption methods, and their natural analogues. As all armour is a compromise between weight, flexibility and protection, the imbricated structure of scaled skin will be presented as a better balance between these factors.

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