US 1463498 A
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July 31, 1993 N. W. BURGESS ARMOR FOR GASOLINE TANKS OF AEROPLANES AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES Filed Sent. 24, 1918 Patented July 31, 1923.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE.
NORMAN W. BURGESS, OF LEXINGTON, VIRGINIA.
ARMOR FOR GASOLINE TANKS 0F AEROPLANES AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
Application filed September 24, 1918. Serial No. 255,518.
To all whom it may concern:
Be it known that I, NORMAN W. BURGESS, a citizen of the United States, residing at Lexington, in the county of Rockbridge and State of Virginia, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Armor for Gasoline Tanks of Aeroplanes and for Other Purposes, of which the following is a specification.
My invention relates to bullet proof armor. It has for its object to produce a type of armor that is particularly adapted for the protection of gasoline tanks carried by aeroplanes though it is adapted for a wide "ariety of other uses. The armor is relatively light and is intended for a protection against the fire of machine guns and small arms.
In the accompanying drawings Fig. 1 1s a view of a gasoline tank provided with my invention. Fig. 2 is a detail sectional view of a piece of armor embodying my inventlon.
In the drawings A designates the article to be protected, such as a gasoline tank, and B, the armor covering it. In practice this will be manufactured in shapes best suited to resist gun fire and the tanks will be shaped to fit the armor. Referring particularly to Fig. 2, 2 designates the outer shell of the armor, preferably formed of a plate of hard steel, curved so as to deflect a bullet strik ing it at an angle. This armor plate will be thin, preferably about of an inch in thickness. Another plate, 3, constitutes the inner shell or wall of the armor. This is adapted to lie against the surface of the tank or other article to be protected. It is preferably of hard steel and is curved so as to be concentric with the outer plate 2.
Just inside the plate 2 is a layer 4 of more or less resilient or yielding substance, such as comminuted cork, or unwoven fiber. A similar layer 5 lies just inside the metal plate 3. Between the layers of material, 4 and 5. are arranged metal balls 6. There should be several layers of these, preferably three, as shown, and they should be packed in the space between said layers as closely as they will lie; the balls, however, although in contact with each other, being free to turn individually.
They may be of any suitable hard metal, but when the armor is used as a protective covering for the gasoline tank of an aeroplane they are preferably made of aluminum in order to reduce the weight of the armor I as much as possible.
Should a bullet pierce the outer plate 2 and come into contact with one of the balls 6,-the chances are that the engagement will be at an angle. The balls are packed into the space between the layers 4 and 5 closely and are held in place so securely, that when one of them is struck by a bullet it will yield but little, but will rather rotate, deflecting the course of the bullet. Such deflection will cause the nose of the bullet to come into engagement with the adjacent ball which, rotating without much bodily movement, will again deflect the bullet; and this will proceed as the bullet comes into engagement with one ball after another, its speed and force being reduced and its course changed at each new contact, with the result that it may never reach the inner plate 3 at all, or if it does it will be with its speed and force so mu h reduced that it cannot penetrate the latter. Should the bullet strike one of the balls radially the ball might be broken, when the bullet would pass onto engage tangentially, or at an angle, with aball in the next row. to be thereby deflected, as has been described.
The thickness of the layers 4 and 5 should be at least equal to the length of a bullet the armor is supposed to protect against. The reason for this is that the bullet shall not be supported and guided by the armor plate 2 that it may have pierced at the moment its end comes into engagement with one of the balls 6, but rather shall be free (the layer 4 ofl'ering little resistance to the bullet being deflected laterally) to be deflected by engagement with one of the balls 6. In the manufacture of the armor the two plates 2 and 3, having secured to them the layers of material 4 and 5, are placed at approximately the desired distance apart and the space between the layers is filled with the balls 6. The plates are then forced toward each other until the layers 4 and 5 bear forcibly upon the balls of the outer rows, which are thereby crowded together and held securely in place. The resilient nature of the layers 4 and 5 permits the action just described. After the plates have been forced toward each other to the desired degree they are united by any suitable means such as the bolts 7 and the armor is complete.
As has been intimated the armor described is adapted to a great variety of uses. The dimensions of its several parts may be largely increased so that it may act as a dcjectiles that may strike it, only those making direct or approximately direct hits being able to puncture it. Those that do puncture will be so deflected and interfered with in their course by the resisting balls 6 that their force will be largely spent before reaching the inner plate 3. The deflection of the course of a projectile incident to its passage through the balls 6 will render it most improbable that it strike the plate 3 directly. Instead its angle of incidence will probably be such that it will be deflected and follow the surface of the plate on the inside, plowing through the layer 5, or being deflected back into the mass of balls 6.
The deflecting balls 6 are relatively large, that is to say, the diameter is considerably greater than is the thickness of the armor shell 2, as well as bein greater than the diameter of the projectile which it is intended to deflect. This elementof size is important, else the balls will not operate to deflect and change the course of the projectile.
What I claim is:
1. A projectile-resisting armor comprising a thin outer armor plate and a series of relatively large balls free to rotate and deflect such projectiles as may pass through the outer plate and an inner wall cooperating with the outer armor plate to hold the balls in place.
2. A projectile-resisting armor comprising individually rotate to deflect such projec-.
tiles as may pass through the outer armor plate.
3. A projectile-resisting armor comprising a set of relatively large loose balls arranged in a plurality of layers, outer and inner layers of resilient material between which the balls are arranged, for holding them in place, a thin projectile-resisting armor shell outside the outer layer of resilient material and an inner wall inside the inner layer of resilient material. I
4. A projectile-resisting armor comprising a'set of relatively large loose balls arranged in a plurality of layers, outer and inner layers of resilient'material between which the balls are arranged, for holding them in place, and hard projectile-resisting armor plates respectively covering said layers of resilient material, the plates being united to cause the balls to be closely confined between the said resilient layers.
5. A projectile-resisting armor comprising a thin outer plate of hard metal, a layer of resilient material inside the said plate, aseries of relatively large metal balls inside the said layer of resilient material, the balls being each free to individually rotate, the thickness of the resilient layer being greater than the thickness of the outer plate, and an inner wall co-operating with the outer plate to hold the intermediate parts of the armor in place.
NORMAN W. BURGESS.