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Publication numberUS20070234458 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/227,372
Publication dateOct 11, 2007
Filing dateSep 15, 2005
Priority dateSep 15, 2005
Also published asWO2008054369A2, WO2008054369A3
Publication number11227372, 227372, US 2007/0234458 A1, US 2007/234458 A1, US 20070234458 A1, US 20070234458A1, US 2007234458 A1, US 2007234458A1, US-A1-20070234458, US-A1-2007234458, US2007/0234458A1, US2007/234458A1, US20070234458 A1, US20070234458A1, US2007234458 A1, US2007234458A1
InventorsJames Larsen, Christopher Cross
Original AssigneeFederal Covers & Textiles, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Composite segmented flexible armor
US 20070234458 A1
Abstract
A composite ballistic material has one or more layers of flexible ballistic fabric and a plurality of scales disposed in an overlapping configuration. Scale configurations may vary depending on an intended use. However, the scales may have a substantially uniform thickness and may also have a mounting portion and an overlapping portion. The mounting portions may be aligned in a single layer. The overlapping portions may extend wider than the mounting portions. The overlapping portions may also be substantially non-planar. The overlapping portions may be arranged so that the overlapping portion of individual scales lies under or over the overlapping portion of adjacent scales. Scales may be initially joined with a binder in rows and subsequently joined to a flexible fabric to create the overlap in a direction substantially perpendicular to the rows.
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Claims(22)
1. A composite ballistic material comprising:
one or more layers of flexible ballistic fabric; and
a plurality of scales arranged in an overlapping configuration, the individual scales having a mounting portion and an overlapping portion, the mounting portions of the plurality of scales being disposed substantially in a non-overlapping layer, the overlapping portions of the scales having a first surface and a second surface spaced apart by a substantially constant thickness, an amount of the overlapping portion of a single scale that lies over or under other scales being between about 15 to 35 percent of a first overall width of the first surface in a first direction.
2. The material of claim 1 wherein the mounting portion of the individual scales has a second width between a first outermost surface and a second outermost surface in the first direction, the second width being smaller than the first width, the overlapping portion extending wider than the first and the second outermost surfaces of the mounting portion.
3. The material of claim 1 wherein an amount of the overlapping portion of a single scale that lies over or under other scales being between about 40 to 70 percent of a second overall width of the first surface in a second direction.
4. The material of claim 1 wherein the overlapping portion is substantially planar.
5. The material of claim 1 wherein the overlapping portion is substantially dome shaped.
6. The material of claim 1 wherein the overlapping portion is substantially curved.
7. The material of claim 1 wherein each of the plurality of scales is corrugated.
8. The material of claim 1 wherein the scales are polycarbonate scales.
9. A composite ballistic material comprising:
one or more layers of flexible ballistic fabric; and
a plurality of scales having a substantially uniform thickness and further having a mounting portion and an overlapping portion, the mounting portions of the plurality of scales being disposed substantially in a non-overlapping layer, the overlapping portions of the plurality of scales being substantially non-planar and being arranged in an overlapping configuration so that the overlapping portion of individual scales lies under or over the overlapping portion of adjacent scales.
10. The material of claim 9 wherein the mounting portion of the individual scales has a first width between a first outermost surface and a second outermost surface in a first direction, the overlapping portion of the individual scales extending wider than the first and the second outermost surfaces of the mounting portion.
11. The material of claim 9 wherein the overlapping portion is substantially dome shaped.
12. The material of claim 9 wherein the overlapping portion is substantially curved.
13. The material of claim 9 wherein each of the plurality of scales is corrugated.
14. The material of claim 13 further comprising a second overlapping portion, the first overlapping portion and the second overlapping portion disposed on opposite sides of the mounting portion.
15. The material of claim 9 wherein the scales are polycarbonate scales.
16. A method of constructing a composite ballistic material, the method comprising:
joining a row of scales having a substantially uniform thickness along a first direction to a plurality of flexible binders, each of the plurality of scales having a mounting portion and an overlapping portion, the mounting portions being disposed on the flexible binder in substantially in a non-overlapping layer, the overlapping portions of the scales being substantially non-planar and arranged in an overlapping configuration so that the overlapping portion of individual scales lies under or over the overlapping portion of adjacent scales; and
joining the plurality of flexible binders to a flexible fabric so that the overlapping portion of scales disposed on a first binder overlap the overlapping portion of scales disposed on a second binder.
17. The method of claim 16 wherein joining the plurality of flexible binders to a flexible fabric further comprises disposing a first part of the overlapping portion of scales disposed on the first binder under the overlapping portion of scales disposed on the second binder and disposing a second part of the overlapping portion of scales disposed on the first binder over the overlapping portion of scales disposed on a third binder.
18. The method of claim 16 wherein the scales are corrugated.
19. The method of claim 16 wherein the flexible fabric is a ballistic fabric.
20. The method of claim 16 wherein the overlapping portion of individual scales is curved.
21. The method of claim 16 where the mounting portions of the row of scales have a width in the first direction measured between a first outermost surface and a second outermost surface, the overlapping portion of the individual scales extending wider than the first and second outermost surfaces.
22. The method of claim 16 wherein the scales are polycarbonate scales.
Description
BACKGROUND

Personal body armor is worn by individuals to protect themselves from high velocity projectiles such as bullets and shrapnel. Clearly, the ultimate objective for armor and the materials from which the armor is comprised is to limit bodily harm that can be caused by such ballistic threats. An unfortunate reality of military arenas is that threatening conditions are pervasive. For that matter, threat scenarios are even omnipresent in civilian contexts. As a consequence, personal body armor may be worn for extended periods of time. Therefore, a subsidiary objective for personal body armor is that the armor be as light and comfortable as possible.

Another consideration pertains to flexibility of the armor. Certain conventional solutions use substantial metal and ceramic plates to provide ballistic protection. The hardness of these materials offers adequate protection but their hardness also contributes to a large and heavy solution. Even where smaller plates are used, the rigidity of the plates hinders overall flexibility. Other conventional solutions use a plurality of layers of high performance fiber material such as Kevlar® from DuPont and K-Flex®/T-Flex™. Unfortunately, protection from high-speed projectiles requires a commensurate increase in the number of layers of the ballistic fabric needed to provide protection. Additional layers, flexible though they may be, increase weight and decrease flexibility.

To increase flexibility, other conventional solutions use tiled configurations that permit relative motion between tiles. Some of these solutions have gaps between tiles that are vulnerable to ballistic penetration. Other solutions use an overlapping tile configuration but do not provide sufficient overlap to account for body flexure and inter-tile exposure that may occur if the wearer is in a reaching or bent position. Vulnerability between tiles may also be a legitimate problem where protection in close range or hand-to-hand combat is a concern.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has developed a set of performance requirements in NIJ Standard 0101.04 establishing a minimum level of ballistic protection against different types of bullets. This standard recognizes the contradicting objectives discussed above. “Body armor selection is to some extent a tradeoff between ballistic protection and wearability. The weight and bulk of body armor are inversely proportional to the level of ballistic protection it provides; therefore, comfort decreases as the protection level increases.” Ballistic Resistance of Personal Body Armor, Revision A, NIJ Standard 0101.04, June 2001 at page 44. This statement reflects a necessary and commonly recognized compromise associated with conventional body armor. Accordingly, existing solutions may not provide an optimal solution that balances protection, comfort, and flexibility.

SUMMARY

Embodiments of the present invention are directed to a composite ballistic material that uses one or more layers of flexible ballistic fabric in conjunction with a plurality of scales disposed in an overlapping configuration. Scale configurations may vary depending on an intended use. In general, the scales may have a substantially uniform thickness. Furthermore, the scales may also have a mounting portion and an overlapping portion. The mounting portions may be aligned in a single layer. For example, the scales may be initially joined to a binder in rows and subsequently joined to a flexible fabric to create overlap in a direction substantially perpendicular to the rows.

The overlapping portions of the scales may have different configurations. For example, in some embodiments, the overlapping portions may extend wider than the mounting portions. In certain embodiments, the overlapping portions may also be substantially non-planar. The overlapping portions may be arranged so that the overlapping portion of individual scales lies under or over the overlapping portion of adjacent scales. Some scales have curved configurations that may be particularly suitable to curved portions of a body armor device. Some scales may have overlapping portions disposed on one side of a mounting portion while others have overlapping portions disposed on opposing sides of a mounting portion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a body armor vest incorporating overlapping scales according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 2A and 2B are partial section views showing a layer of overlapping scales disposed over layers of ballistic fabric according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram illustrating an exemplary scale according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 4A and 4B are cross section views of the overlapping portion of the scale of FIG. 3 according to different embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram showing an exemplary scale overlap configuration according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a schematic diagram illustrating one technique for joining rows of scales according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a body armor vest incorporating overlapping scales according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 8A and 8B are perspective views illustrating exemplary scales according to different embodiments of the present invention;

FIGS. 9A and 9B are frontal views illustrating exemplary scales according to different embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a side view illustrating an exemplary scale according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 11A and 11B are side views illustrating overlapping scales according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 12A, 12B, and 12C are frontal views illustrating exemplary scales according to different embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 13 is a frontal view illustrating overlapping scales according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 14 is a perspective view illustrating an exemplary scale according to one embodiment of the present invention; and

FIGS. 15A and 15B are side views illustrating overlapping scales according to different embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The various embodiments disclosed herein are directed to a material composition for use in body armor. Different configurations implement scales that are joined to a flexible fabric to create a composite structure. The composite structure may be used in protective body armor such as that generally shown in FIG. 1. FIG. 1 shows an exemplary vest 10 that uses one embodiment of a composite, flexible structure 100 contained therein. The vest 10 shown in FIG. 1 may have an outer, wear-resistant layer (not specifically shown) encapsulating the composite structure 100. The vest 10 represents one exemplary application of the embodiments disclosed herein. The composite structure 100 and the additional embodiments disclosed below may be used in other types of body armor, including those offering limb protection, neck protection, and groin protection. Accordingly, FIG. 1 is not intended to be limiting.

The illustrated vest 10 includes a neck aperture 12 and a pair of arm apertures 14 and generally provides coverage for a human torso. The composite structure 100 may cover some (as shown) or the entire vest 10. In one embodiment, the composite structure 100 comprises a plurality of individual scales 16 that are disposed in an overlapping arrangement. That is, a majority of scales 16 have other scales 16 that cover some portion of those scales 16 while simultaneously covering other scales 16. Further, overlapping exists in both the vertical and horizontal directions as shown.

In one embodiment, the scales 16 are constructed from a thermoplastic polymer, though other materials may be implemented. Suitable examples may include, polyethylene, polypropylene, PMMA. In one embodiment, the scales 16 are constructed of 0.125″ or 0.063″ thick polycarbonate. Additional details of the scales 16 and other scale configurations are provided below.

As indicated, the scales 16 overlap in multiple directions and preferably by an amount that prevents inter-scale separation that may expose vulnerable gaps in the composite structure 100. FIGS. 2A and 2B show a partial cross section of the composite structure 100 with the scales 16 oriented to prevent such gaps. The exemplary composite structure 100 comprises a layer of overlapping scales 16 that is joined to one or more layers 18 a, 18 b of ballistic fabric. Some examples of ballistic fabric that may be used in the embodiments disclosed herein include Kevlar® from DuPont, Twaron® by Teijin Twaron, Spectra® from Honeywell, Dyneema® developed by DSM, and K-Flex®/T-Flex® from PTI Armor Systems, LLC in Tempe, Ariz.

In one embodiment, the layer of overlapping scales 16 is joined to an adjacent layer 18 a of ballistic fabric. This first layer 1 8 a may then be joined, at least loosely, to a remaining plurality of layers 18 b. The quantity of layers 18 b used for a particular application may vary depending on the performance requirements. In general, the composite structure 100 should be sufficient to radially redirect the kinetic pulse that is caused by projectile impact. In an exemplary embodiment, a layer of overlapping scales 16 and less than 10 layers of ballistic fabric were sufficient to limit back face signature to between 0.8 and 0.9 inches. An acceptable limit of 1.73 inches is established by NIJ Standard 0101.04 for different ammunition, including Full Metal Jacketed 9 mm and Jacketed Soft Point 0.44 Magnum bullets. By comparison, body armor such as vest 10 that only incorporates layers 18 b of ballistic fabric may require as much as about two times the number of layers to simply meet the NIJ standard. Many more layers may be required to achieve the same performance as the composite structure 100.

One advantage provided by the composite structure 100 is that the scales 16 are lighter than metal or ceramic equivalents. However, this does not preclude the use of metal or ceramic scales 16 as these other materials may provide different performance characteristics suitable for a particular application. In any event, the scales 16 are joined to a layer 18 a of ballistic fabric in such a manner that the composite structure 100 may flex while it is worn. This flexure is illustrated in FIG. 2B, which shows the same partial cross section of the composite structure 100 shown in FIG. 2A, albeit in a curved or flexed condition. Notably, the amount of overlap D1 shown in FIG. 2A is sufficient to maintain overlap even in the curved condition shown in FIG. 2B. The overlap D2 in FIG. 2B may be less than overlap D1 from FIG. 2A as a result of the flexure. Regardless, the scales 16 still overlie one another to provide the desired protection.

FIG. 3 illustrates one embodiment of a single scale 16 that may be used in the composite structure 100. Three qualitative dimensions, H1, W1, and D3 are shown in FIG. 3. The exemplary scale 16 is approximately 1 to 2 inches in height with the width is determined by diameter D3. Dimension W1 defines the width of a mounting portion 20 whereas the diameter D3 generally defines the size of an overlapping portion 22. The mounting portion 20 has a generally rectangular shape. The height of the mounting portion 20 is defined by dimension H1. The width W1 of the mounting portion 20 is smaller than the overall width of the overlapping portion 22 as defined by diameter D3. In the embodiment shown, the overlapping portion 22 extends beyond both sides of the mounting portion 20 (in the side to side direction as oriented in FIG. 3).

The overlapping portion 22 is generally circular and may be dome shaped 22 a as illustrated in the cross section view provided in FIG. 4A. Alternatively, the overlapping portion may have a flat cross section 22 a as illustrated in the cross section view provided in FIG. 4B. For either case, the scale 16 may have a substantially uniform cross section thickness T1. Furthermore, in addition to the circular configuration shown, the overlapping portion 22 may have other configurations including but not limited to elliptical, oblong, conical, oval, rectangular, and teardrop shapes.

FIG. 5 shows one overlap configuration that may be used in constructing the composite structure 100 using a plurality of scales 16. Three qualitative dimensions L1, P, and L2. Dimension P defines a vertical pitch or stagger determining the amount of overlap in the vertical direction as illustrated in FIG. 5. In one embodiment, the pitch P is about half the size of the scale so that the amount of vertical overlap L2 is also about equal to half the size of the scale. Alternatively, the vertical overlap L2 may be equal to about half the size of the overlapping portion 22. For example, the vertical overlap L2 may be about 40 to 60% of the size of the scale 16.

The overlapping portion 22 of the exemplary scales 16 is substantially circular. Further, the scales 16 are joined to an underlying layer 18 a of ballistic fabric at the mounting portion 20. As a result, the free end of the scale (bottom end in the orientation shown in FIGS. 1, 3, and 5), an exposed area 24 exists between overlapping portions 22 of adjacent scales 16. Therefore, in another embodiment, the pitch P may be selected so that the widest part of an overlapping portion 22 is positioned near or slightly below this exposed area 24.

As indicated, the mounting portions 20 of a given scale 16 are narrower than the overlapping portions 22. This configuration allows the scales 16 to be positioned so that the mounting portions 20 abut one another at a junction 28. Absolute contact between adjacent mounting portions 20 is not expressly required but may be desirable. At the least, the mounting portions 20 of adjacent scales 16 should be placed in close proximity to one another to increase the amount of overlap L1. Dimension L1 describes the amount of horizontal overlap between adjacent scales 16. Notably, this dimension L1 is at least partly determined by the extent to which the width or diameter of overlapping portion 22 exceeds the mounting portion 20 (see also FIG. 3). Accordingly, dimension L1 may also be adjusted by adjusting dimensions D3 and W1 in FIG. 3.

The amount by which a single scale 16 lies under or over an adjacent scale 16 is shown qualitatively as the cross hatched area 26 in FIG. 6. In one embodiment, the cross hatched area 26 should comprise about 10 to 35% of the width of an overlapping portion 22 of a single scale. The precise amount of overlap may depend on the area in which the scales 16 are used. For example, scales 16 that are disposed near the upper chest region may require less overlap than is required for scales 16 disposed near the abdomen, where greater flexure is likely. In one embodiment, 20 to 25% of an individual scale 16 may lie under or over immediately adjacent scales 16.

FIG. 6 also shows one embodiment of a technique that can be used to string together a row 36 of scales 16 for subsequent attachment to a layer 18 a of ballistic fabric. As indicated above, the scales 16 may be positioned so that they abut one another at a junction 28. Initially, the scales 16 are adhered to a fabric binding 30. A variety of techniques may be used to secure the scales to the binding 30, including, for example, stapling and stitching. In one embodiment, the scales 16 are secured to the binding 30 using a conventionally known adhesive such as PMA or PMMA. The adhesive is applied generally to the regions indicated by rectangles 32. Then, the binding 30 is folded over the mounting portion 20 along a fold line 34 and the adhesive is allowed to cure.

One advantage to this configuration is that individual rows 36 of scales 16 may be pre-fabricated in extended stock lengths. Then, a desired length may be cut from the stock lengths and joined to a layer 18 a of ballistic fabric in a vertically overlapping configuration at the desired pitch P. Further, the binding 30 may be made from a fabric that permits the row 36 of scales 16 to be stitched to a layer 18 a of ballistic fabric in an expeditious manner. Furthermore, the binding 30 may itself be flexible, thus contributing to the overall flexibility of the composite structure 100.

The scales 16 described thus far have a profile generally illustrated in FIG. 3. Certainly, other scale types may be used. The exemplary vest 110 shown in FIG. 7 illustrates one embodiment of a body armor device that includes composite structures 100, 200, 300, each having different types of scales 16, 116, 216. Scales 116 are depicted in greater detail in the perspective view in FIG. 8A, the frontal view in FIG. 9A, and the side view in FIG. 10. An alternative embodiment of scale 116 is shown as a similar scale 118 illustrated in FIGS. 8B and 9B. Similar to scales 16, the scales 116, 118 are characterized by a mounting portion 120 a or 120 b and an overlapping portion 122. In contrast with scales 16, these particular scales 116, 118 have a curved or bowed mounting portion 122 that is substantially rectangular when viewed from the frontal direction as shown in FIGS. 9A and 9B. In one embodiment shown in FIG. 9A, the mounting portion 120 a has a width W2 that is smaller than the overall width W3 of the scale 116. In another embodiment shown in FIG. 9B, the mounting portion 120 b has a width that is substantially the same as the overall width W3 of the scale 118. Furthermore, while a rectangular overlapping portion 122 is shown, other configurations may be used including but not limited to elliptical, oblong, conical, oval, circular, and teardrop shapes.

The curved overlapping portion 122 is more clearly shown in FIG. 10. The overlapping portion 122 has an overall radius of curvature R1 that is centered about axis 140. The length of the scale 116 may be defined by the height of the mounting portion 120 a, 120 b and an arcuate length D4. The length of the scale 116 may be within a range of about 1 to 2 inches, similar to scale 16. In one particular embodiment, the arcuate length D4 is about 1.7 inches.

FIGS. 11A and 11B illustrate that the arcuate length D4 and the radius of curvature R1 of the scale 116 permit use with composite structures 200 having a wide variety of overall curvatures R2. For instance, FIG. 11A shows that the scales 116 may be joined to ballistic fabric layers 18 a that are used in a substantially flat configuration. Perhaps more advantageously, the scales 116 may be joined to ballistic fabric layers 18 a that are used in a curved configuration as illustrated in FIG. 11B. Varying arcuate lengths D4 and radii R1 may be implemented for use with different radii of curvature R2. Thus, scales 116 may be particularly useful in curved portions of a body armor device such as vest 110. For example, scales 116 and composite structure 200 may be used around the shoulder region of a vest 110. Other exemplary applications may include limb and throat covers characterized by curved surfaces. In one embodiment, radius R1 may have a value of about 2.8 inches for application near a shoulder region of vest 110.

Another type of scale 216 is illustrated in FIGS. 12A, 13, 14, 15A and 15B. In one embodiment, this type of scale 216 may be used around the chest region of a body armor device, such as vest 110. As with the other scales 16, 116,118, scale 216 may be joined with a layer 18 a of ballistic fabric to create a composite structure 300 that is used within the vest 110. FIG. 12A illustrates a scale 216 that is elongated and substantially rectangular when viewed from the front as shown. Scale 216 includes two mounting portions 220, one each at bends 240. The mounting portions 220 have a width W4 that is generally smaller than the overall width W5 of the scale 216. This exemplary scale 216 is characterized by three overlapping portions 222 a, 222 b, 222 c that are arranged in a corrugated manner. This corrugated geometry is more easily identified in FIG. 14, which shows a general perspective view identifying geometry associated with scale 116. As compared with the previously described scales 16, 116, 118, scale 216 may have a similar width W5, but a substantially longer length D5. For example, the length D5 of scale 216 may be between 4 and 5 inches. In one embodiment, the length D5 of scale 216 may be about 4.5 inches.

The length D6 of the individual overlapping portions 222 a, 222 b, 222 c may vary. Symmetry may be preserved by using a length D6 that is approximately one third the overall length of the scale 216. Further, the corrugated geometry may be obtained by orienting the overlapping portions 222 a, 222 b, 222 c at an angle α with respect to one another. A range of angles may be used with smaller angles resulting in a lower profile. For example, an angle α of about 15-25 degrees may be suitable. In one embodiment, an angle α of about 19 degrees is used. FIGS. 14, 15A, and 15B show a sharp bend 240 at the transition between overlap portions 222 a, 222 b, and 222 c. It should be understood that more gradual, curved transitions may be used as well.

FIGS. 15A and 15B show a side view of the corrugated scales 216. By comparison, FIG. 13 shows a frontal view of a row 236 of corrugated scales 216. Rows 236 of scales 216 may be joined with a binder 30 as shown in FIG. 6 or directly to a layer 18 a of ballistic material. In general, the scales 216 are joined along a seam 230 on the outside of a bend 240. Chemical or mechanical fastening techniques may be used, including those discussed above. Further, the scales 216 are joined along one seam 230 of the scale 216. Accordingly, one overlap portion 222 a extends in a cantilevered manner in a first direction from the seam 230. The remaining overlap portions 222 b, 222 c extend in a cantilevered manner in a second, opposite direction from the seam 230.

FIG. 13 shows that the overlap portions 222 a, 222 b, 222 c may lie under or over adjacent scales 216. As with the previously described scales 16, 116, and 118, these exemplary scales 216 have a narrow mounting portion 220 disposed along the bend 240. The reduced width of the mounting portion 220 permits a configuration where mounting portions 220 of adjacent scales 216 abut one another. Thus, the mounting portions 220 form a single attachment layer while the overlapping portions 222 a, 222 b, 222 c of adjacent scales 216 can form a multi-layer barrier. The amount of overlap is designated by the shaded area 226 in FIG. 13. The percentage of overlap (i.e., the amount by which the overlapping portions 222 a, 222 b, 222 c of a single scale lie under or over adjacent scales 216) for scales 216 may be larger than in the previously described embodiments. This may be required, in part, because of a larger length D5. For example, an overlap in the range between about 25% and 50% may be appropriate. As above, this overlap may prevent inter-scale exposure that can occur when the vest 110 flexes or twists. In one embodiment, approximately 33% of the overlapping portions 222 a, 222 b, 222 c of a single scale 216 lie under or over adjacent scales 216 in the widthwise W5 direction.

FIG. 15A shows that in a direction that is orthogonal to the attachment seam 230 (up and down as oriented in FIG. 15A), the overlap portion 222 a of one scale 216 lies over or under the overlap portion 222 c of an adjacent scale 216. This configuration results in approximately two-thirds or up to about 70% of a single scale 216 lying under or over adjacent scales along the lengthwise D5 direction. FIG. 15B further illustrates an alternative embodiment having more than one layer of scales 216. This latter configuration may provide improved protection from ballistic threats at a minimal sacrifice in comfort, weight, and flexibility. Additional layers may be used as desired.

Alternative scales 217, 218 similar to scale 216 are presented in FIGS. 12B and 12C. The main difference between the scales 216, 217, 218 is the presence or absence of a narrower mounting portion 220 at or near bends 240 between the segments 222 a, 222 b, and 222 c. Scale 218 has a single mounting portion 220 at one of the two bends 240 compared to the two mounting portions 220 included in scale 216. In contrast, scale 217 has a uniform width W5 and does not have any narrower mounting portions 220. Accordingly, a composite structure 300 using scales 217 may assemble the scales 217 with a uniform overlap along the long edge of the scale 217.

The elongated scales 216, 217, 218 may provide enhanced protection due to the additional overlap in the long direction (direction of length D5). These scales 216, 217, 218 may be particularly suitable for the chest region of a vest 110, where less flexibility and greater protection may be required. In contrast, the smaller scales 16, or the curved scales 116,118 may be suitable for other regions of a vest 110. In combination, the use of these scales 16, 116, 118, 216, 217, 218 in protective armor such as vests 10, 110 may provide an effective compromise between protection, weight, and flexibility.

The present invention may be carried out in other specific ways than those herein set forth without departing from the scope and essential characteristics of the invention. For example, the embodiments described above have contemplated attaching the scales to a layer of ballistic fabric. It may be desirable to attach the scales to a thin non-ballistic fabric that is subsequently attached to layers of ballistic fabric. This and other manufacturing considerations may call for other manufacturing techniques. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, and all changes coming within the meaning and equivalency range of the appended claims are intended to be embraced therein.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8141471 *Sep 28, 2007Mar 27, 2012Alcatel LucentInitial strike-face layer for armor, a method of constructing an armor plate and armor
US8434396 *May 4, 2010May 7, 2013Verco Materials, LlcArmor arrangement
WO2012026926A2 *Aug 24, 2010Mar 1, 2012Lee Robert GArmor tile
Classifications
U.S. Classification2/2.5
International ClassificationF41H1/02
Cooperative ClassificationF41H1/02, F41H5/0492
European ClassificationF41H5/04H, F41H1/02
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 10, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: GLADIATOR, INC., NORTH CAROLINA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:FEDERAL COVERS & TEXTILES, INC.;REEL/FRAME:019539/0001
Effective date: 20070625
Sep 15, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: FEDERAL COVERS & TEXTILES, INC., NORTH CAROLINA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LARSEN, II, JAMES A.;CROSS, CHRISTOPHER W.;REEL/FRAME:017000/0301
Effective date: 20050915