Self-reinforced polymers (SRPs) are a particular family of thermoplastic composite materials in which both the reinforcing fibre and the polymer matrix are from the same polymer family (for example, polypropylene-reinforced polypropylene). This results in affordable materials that are extremely impact resistant - an essential property for body armour. SRPs can also be processed rapidly by compression moulding and are easily recycled at end-of-life.
Comfort and Weight Saving
As well as being protective, it is also important that personal protection is as comfortable and unencumbering as possible. The fact that SRPs are lightweight helps in this regard, but with the support of Sheffield Hallam University, unique designs that reduce fatigue through close-to-body fit are also being explored, together with novel articulated mouldings. Solutions for aerospace protection have also been developed.
SRPs for Ballistic Protection
In order to provide protection against a broad range of ballistic threats, Coventive Composites has been investigating how SRPs can be tuned and paired with complementary materials.
Various SRP/ceramic combinations have been found to be particularly effective against high energy localised impacts and have been tested successfully against threats from 9mm handguns and 7.62x51mm high velocity rounds.