UK MOD and DuPont Develop New Test Methods for Armour Systems


Published 15th June 12

The United Kingdom’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), a trading fund of the Ministry of Defence (MOD), is working with DuPont Protection Technologies to develop and establish test systems and standards for body armour and armour systems.

DuPont will use Dstl’s Behind Armour Blunt Trauma (BABT) test rig to evaluate the performance of body armour against the risk of BABT. In some instances, such trauma could be life-threatening, and could be sustained even though the body armour has stopped the incoming bullet or fragment.

The test was designed and developed by members of the Biomedical Sciences Department at Dstl between 1996 and 2002. The team was originally investigating improving the protection provided to UK military personnel against the BABT threat from high-velocity rifle bullets.

DuPont has now purchased an exclusive license for the rig from Ploughshare Innovations Ltd, Dstl’s technology transfer company.

Jim Ashe, VP Sales of Ploughshare Innovations Ltd commented:

We are delighted to be commercialising the BABT test rig with DuPont which has extensive development and manufacturing expertise – this should enable a worldwide standard for ballistic protection to be established and adopted.

Clay or plasticine-type products are widely used to assess BABT for body armour. Dstl’s BABT test rig, however, offers improved biofidelity, responding in a lifelike way. DuPont hopes, working with Dstl, that it can further develop and refine the BABT test rig and help establish a worldwide recognised BABT test standard. This will enable more realistic comparisons between different body armour systems worn by both military and law enforcement users.

Dr Yves Bader, Development Manager DuPont Protection Technologies, says:

“The BABT test rig, developed by Dstl, is the start of a new area in the fundamental understanding of ballistic protection for police and military officers. Getting reliable measurements on the dynamic impact inside the chest in terms of velocity and depth is becoming essential. The research teams working on DuPont™ Kevlar® fibre now have the possibility to design new ballistic solutions with a more holistic understanding, which combines the classical tests on clay boxes with this new testing method that can plot the trauma deformation as a function of time. This Dynamic Trauma Analyser will definitely help DuPont develop next generations of body armour solutions made with Kevlar®.”

Related information

If you have a specific media enquiry or would like to know more about Ploughshare and what we do please contact us.

Banner image: Crown Copyright