Armor has advanced from hides and skins, to metal, to super strong synthetic fibers, to super strong synthetic hard materials. These new super strong hard materials are called ceramics. Ceramics are some of the hardest materials known to man. Unlike materials like Kevlar which uses its fibers to "catch" the bullet, ceramics are so hard they break the projectile. The strongest ceramic is boron carbide. The plates are made by compressing and baking the boron carbide powder in a kiln at 4000 degrees Fahrenheit. The plates are then used in conjunction with bulletproof vests to defend against high powered rifle rounds and dangerous weapons such as RPG's (rocket propelled grenades).
So with all these obvious benefits of ceramic armor, you're probably wondering what the downfalls are. Well the biggest downfall of ceramic armor is both a good thing and a bad thing. When a ceramic plate is hit by a projectile it cracks and splinters so each subsequent hit weakens the armor more. The bad is fairly obvious, soldiers probably aren't carrying extra plates around, if they take a lot of hits in the same area. There has been a lot of research into how to minimize this effect. Elastic materials, shrinking the plates, and even making ceramic armor out of small ceramic pebbles and fireproof glue have been some methods. The good might not be as obvious but its very beneficial. Because the ceramic cracks, it dissipates the force of the projectile without injuring the soldier. Ceramic inserts for bulletproof vests aren't the only uses that has been found for ceramic either.
Since ceramics are so strong, 5 times stronger than steel and 70% lighter, they drew the gaze of a company called Pinnacle armor. Pinnacle crafted a vest out of silicon carbide ceramic discs that overlap like ancient scale armor. Some tests of the armor have held up to as many as 120 AK-47 shots and an explosion from an M67 grenade, not bad for an armor design that's been around for 3000 years! Advancements are happening everyday, just recently some scientists are claiming they can make ceramics even stronger with the help of nanotechnology. Who knows what will be developed next?
Illustrated by Cyrus "killacaravagio" Hunter
"Calm down children my ceramic plate is almost done."