Importance of Ballistic Steel
There are many ballistic protection applications in the current market which are non-ferrous or even non-metallic. Such armors are being used throughout. There are a few applications, such as heavy armored vehicles, where steel is the main material of choice due to its advantageous combination of properties like ballistic performance, lower cost, weldability, etc. An optimum combination of strength, hardness and toughness is essential for good ballistic performance . It is indicated that as the hardness of the steel plate is increased so does the ballistic performance up to a certain hardness level.
Armor systems for (battlefield and tactical) military-vehicles were traditionally made of metallic materials such as steel and aluminum. While their superior combination of strength and toughness makes them more suitable in structural applications, these materials could offer adequate
ballistic/blast protection, if used in components having a sufficiently high areal density. However, doing so typically leads to excessively heavy vehicles having reduced fuel efficiency, transportability/deployability and mobility, and often greater susceptibility to mechanical/structural in-service failure.
Many manufacturers experiment with using steel alloys coated in titanium or tungsten to increase the anti-armor piercing capabilities of rounds on the battlefield. Using a titanium coating allows for less dense plates which means a lighter load on the carrier. This is most exemplified in recent Dragon Skin testing – which ultimately failed NIJ standards due to some design flaws. Material properties of high strength steel is looked up to understand the protective capability and robustness of the proposed protective structures by utilizing the high strength steel plate to resist blast loading and high velocity impact.
There is a growing interest in developing new armor steels with carbide-free bainite microstructures. Besides these special bainitic steels, it is also of interest to see if the ballistic protection performance of regular armor steels, which are produced to be used in a tempered martensite microstructure, can be increased through conventional bainite microstructures. The growth dynamics of the global Ballistic & Armour Steel Market is shaped by a diverse range of regional and global factors and trends. All manufacturers of Ballistic armor will usually tout a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Ballistic rating.
This is to give the consumer a rough idea of what sorts of impacts the armor can withstand before being breached. However, for the potential buyer, it’s important to trace down the NIJ testing results prior to trusting your life to an unrated plate.