New York: Wonder material graphene has revolutionised batteries and super-conductors. Now it has been demonstrated by scientists that it is 10 times better than steel at stopping bullets.
In an experiment, scientists at the Rice University in the US fired microbullets at supersonic speeds at graphene and found that it was better able to withstand the impact of a bullet than either steel or Kevlar.
Graphene sheets are known to be tough, with a dense structure, but had never been tested for use as armour until now.
The researchers set up a miniature firing range in their laboratory and used a laser to vapourise gold filaments to serve as gunpowder. Micron-sized glass bullets were fired at the graphene targets at speeds of up to 10,780 km/hour (about one third the speed of a real bullet).
The sheets were able to dissipate the energy of the bullet by stretching and forming tiny cracks to absorb the energy.
Analysis found that the graphene sheets performed twice as well as Kevlar, currently used in bullet-proof vests, and up to ten times better than steel.
If it can be produced in enough quantity and at a low price, graphene could form a better bullet-proof vest, the results found.
The results of the study were published in the journal Science.