US 20070113729 A1
A method for forming a ballistic-impact armor structure (and a resulting structure) having a defined, precision-shaped outside configuration, where the method which results in the structure includes the steps of (a) precision-creating a hollow container having the defined outside configuration, (b) introducing ballistic armor-content material into the interior of the container, (c) positionally stabilizing the introduced armor-content material, and (d) unifying the armor-content material with the container.
1. A method for forming a ballistic-impact armor structure having a defined, precision-shaped outside configuration comprising
precision-creating a hollow container having the defined outside configuration,
introducing ballistic armor-content material into the interior of the container,
positionally stabilizing the introduced armor-content material, and
unifying the armor-content material with the container.
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10. A ballistic-impact armor structure which is formed in accordance with the methodology of
11. A ballistic-impact armor structure which is formed in accordance with the methodology of
This application claims priority to currently co-pending U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/691,509, filed Jun. 16, 2005, for “Formed-Container Armor Structure and Methodology”. The entire disclosure content of that provisional application is hereby incorporated herein by reference.
This invention pertains to ballistic-impact armor structure—specifically precision-formed-container armor structure—and to methodology for making such structure.
In today's world, there is much emphasis on, and apparent, or at least perceived, need for, armoring various spaces, things, vehicles, etc., for protection against the threat and reality of a ballistic, or related, attack. There are many associated environments where this is desired, and variously, there are strong interests in achieving successful armoring while at the same time doing so: (a) in relatively light-weight, non-bulky fashion; (b) in a manner which results in a structure that precision-form-fits in relation to a to-be-protected space, i.e., a complementary fit-situation; (c) in ways which disguise the presence of armor, either (1) to deflect attention from the fact that something is being guarded, or (2) to create an esthetically pleasing, faux-appearance, “non-announcement” of the presence of armor, or (3) both of these things; or (d) in other ways which make the placement of armor more user-friendly and acceptable.
It is also desirable to accomplish some or all of these things in manners which are simple, versatile, easily deliverable and installable, and relatively inexpensive in all aspects.
The present invention addresses all of these important considerations in a unique methodologic and structural way which is based upon the known, and otherwise used (i.e., in other settings), practice of precision rotational molding, or roto-molding.
Roto-molding is a process/practice which employs a special kind of motion-based molding machinery, or machine, utilizing a pre-formed, precision mold, and associating this mold appropriately with loading, heating, and cooling zones. In such a practice, and if desired, several molds may be placed in a roto-molding machine at the same time. Typically, pre-measured plastic resin of selectable character is loaded into a mold, and the mold is moved into an oven where it is slowly rotated on both vertical and horizontal axes. Resin introduced into the mold before passing of the mold into the oven, and once heated in the oven, melts and sticks to the hot mold interior surface, coating every part of that surface very evenly. The mold continues to rotate during a subsequent cooling cycle, and as a consequence, each molded component achieves an even wall thickness, resulting, in accordance with a specific important feature and practice of the present invention, in a hollow, initially continuous-walled container (i.e., a continuum) having a specific, precision outside shape and surface characteristic.
This process, i.e., the roto-molding process, enables economical precision molding of controlled material, controlled shape, controlled continuous wall thickness, and controlled outside surface texture and configuration, unitary, hollow, container-like structures, or containers, which can then, in accordance with further practice of the invention, be filled with ballistic armor material, called armor-content material, which is then suitably stabilized within the hollow interior of the container.
These important features of the methodology and resulting structure of the invention, and how they address ultimately all of the armoring considerations expressed earlier herein, will now be more fully presented as the detailed descriptions thereof which follow below are read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
Container 12 may, of course, be formed of any suitable roto-molding material, and may be shaped/configured in a highly precision-controlled manner, versatilely and completely by user selection, by pre-formation (in any convention fashion) of an appropriate roto-molding mode. With respect to this mold, dimensions, outside surface texture and “topography”, and other features may be designed to be whatever is desired by a user.
This versatility and user selectability are what enable the making, according to the invention, of a jacketing formed container which can be form-fit complementarily in any one of a number of different user selectable spaces, and which can possess the “outside” esthetic/disguising characteristics which may be desired.
Container 12 herein is formed of cross-linked polyethylene. Other very suitable plastic resin materials selectable for use in the construction of a container, such as container 12, may include polyethylene, polypropylene, and high-density polyethylene. A typical molding time for forming such a container might be about 30-minutes. As will become apparent, roto-molding of container 12 to finish with what, at least initially, is a completely continuous (i.e., a continuum) wall 12 a, is beneficial to ultimate container integrity, and of course to the economy of container manufacture as well.
Container 12, which lies essentially in previously mentioned plane 10 a has a hollow interior 12 b which is filled, as will shortly be explained, with internal ballistic armor-content material 14 (still to be described) which is introduced into this interior through any suitable form of access opening, such as an opening created by careful returnable removal of a portion of the originally formed container, such as the portion shown generally at 12 c. Container portion 12 c has been appropriately divided from the remainder of the container, along a parting line 12 d formed, for example, by sawing. With portion 12 c removed, line 12 d effectively defines the mentioned access opening to the interior of the container.
After initial preparation of hollow container 12 by roto-molding, and after an appropriate portion, such as portion 12 c shown in
Inserted armor-content material, in a structure like panel structure 10, is preferably placed in a manner so that it generally occupies one or more planes, which plane or planes lie(s) substantially parallel to previously mentioned plane 10 a. In the specific panel armor structure 10 which is illustrated herein, several such layers of armor-content material are illustrated, including two layers 16 of side-by-side-adjacent, rectangular, ceramic tiles 16 a, and a plurality of layers, such as layers 18, formed of aramid-fibre material.
Other materials which may be employed include various highly hardened steels, plastic armor sheets, ceramic composites, compressed fibreglas, or other appropriate armor materials of otherwise conventional construction.
These inserted and installed layers of armor-content material are organized in such a fashion that structure 10 has what is referred to herein as a linear, ballistic-impact response directionality which is illustrated by arrow 20 in
The layer, or layers, of inserted and installed armor-content material are suitably stabilized on the inside of container 12, with stabilizing material herein shown at 22. In structure 10, material 22 takes the form preferably of a poured-in high-elastomeric material, such as the product known as TUFF STUFF® FR made by Rhino Linings USA, Inc. in San Diego, Calif.
Other stabilizing materials which may be used if desired include expanded urethane foam, or appropriately driven-in wedges of a material, such as a urethane material. Such a wedge is shown very schematically in dashed lines at 24 in
Following full installation and appropriate stabilizing of armor-content material 14, removed container portion 12 c, in the particular practice of the invention now being described, is restored and returned to a position closing off the interior of the container. It is appropriately secured in its returned condition through gluing or heat welding, or in any other appropriate manner. One consideration in this context is that this “removed portion” may be re-anchored in position through an appropriate adhesive which offers the opportunity for later removal for internal panel-structure repairs following a damaging ballistic event.
Describing briefly another container “reclosing” approach, it is entirely acceptable to return “opened” container 12 to a fully re-enclosed condition by closing off the installation opening in the container with an appropriate cap structure which may not be the portion of the container removed initially to expose the container's interior.
As was mentioned earlier, the roto-molding process which is employed to create container 12 in structure 10 offers a great deal of versatility and selectability in terms of shape and outside surface quality. For example, and turning attention for a moment to
Similarly, two somewhat differently perimetrally shaped, container-formed panel-like armor structures, shown by dash-dot lines 34, 36, are complementarily fitted into a receiving space (or spaces) firnished in the near side of vehicle 26 in
As was also mentioned earlier, and turning attention now specifically to
Such hardware, of any category, may be installed to facilitate securing of an armor structure in place (i.e., to facilitate an attaching “relationship” with external structure), such as might be required with respect to the several-panel installations shown in
From what has been presented above, it will be apparent that one way of describing the methodology of the present invention is to characterize it as featuring a method for forming a ballistic-impact armor structure having a defined, precision shaped outside configuration, with this method including the steps of (a) precision-creating a hollow container having the desired, defined outside configuration, (b) introducing ballistic armor-content material into the interior of the created container, (c) positionally stabilizing the introduced armor-content material, and (d) unifying the armor-content material with the container.
This methodology may be further viewed as one wherein the mentioned precision-creating step is implemented by precision-roto-molding the container as a closed continuum, and thereafter, in terms of carrying out the introducing step, (1) first providing an access opening in the container continuum, and then (2) implementing the armor-content introducing step, per se, by inserting the armor-content material through that access opening.
Thus, a unique formed-container armor structure, and an appropriate roto-molding methodology for container formation, have been illustrated and described herein. They have been described and illustrated in a manner which clearly demonstrates the ability of the present invention to meet all of the special and important considerations and concerns/desires of the current state of the art with respect to furnishing armor structure of the type discussed earlier and above herein. Formed-container structures may be created in a very wide variety of sizes, configurations and surface qualities to meet a very side range of needs.
The preferred roto-molding container-forming process is, as described, a precision process which enables the construction of armor structures, in accordance with the present invention, designed to form-fit complementarily in a wide variety of differently shaped receiving spaces. Roto-molding offers, in the setting of the present invention, numerous design advantages over other container-forming processes. The roto-molding process, for example, has a number of inherent design strengths, such as consistent wall thickness and strong outside corners that are virtually stress free. If additional strength is required, for example in a container to be employed in the present invention, appropriate reinforcing ribs can be designed into such a container. Additives to help make a container weather resistant, flame retardant, or static free can be specified. As suggested, or hinted-at, above, inserts, and other things, such as threads, handles, minor undercuts, flat surfaces that eliminate draft angles or fine surface detail can all be part of a container's design.
Different specific arrangements and materials may be employed for specific armor structure components (armor-content materials) which are inserted into the interior of the proposed, roto-molded formed container, with these installed armor components stabilized in any one of a number of different suitable ways. If desired, an originally created access opening provided to the interior of the once (i.e., initially) continuous-walled container may be closed in such a fashion that the container may be reopened later if desired to perform internal repairs after a damaging ballistic event. Armor structures constructed in accordance with the invention are preferably made with a ballistic impact directionality as mentioned.
Accordingly, while a preferred embodiment of, and manner of practicing, the present invention has been presented herein, and several variations and modifications have been suggested, it is appreciated that many variations and modifications, other than those specifically pointed out herein, may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention.