Modumetal Announces Acceptance into DARPA Armor Challenge Program

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Modumetal will participate in the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's (DARPA) Armor Challenge Program in the role of advanced materials provider. The overall goal of DARPA's Armor Challenge program is to develop lightweight armor systems that meet the baseline ballistics performance of Rolled Homogenous Armor (RHA) steel at one half the weight.

Modumetal will participate in the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's (DARPA) Armor Challenge Program in the role of advanced materials provider. The overall goal of DARPA's Armor Challenge program is to develop lightweight armor systems that meet the baseline ballistics performance of Rolled Homogenous Armor (RHA) steel at one half the weight.

Modumetal™ is a patent-pending material and manufacturing process that is intended to deliver exceptionally strong and tough parts through the exploitation of nanotechnology principals and applications. Through a production process called Modumetalization™, the company can "grow" three-dimensional, nanolaminated metal alloys that are much lighter than steel, but at the same time are expected to outperform steel in energy absorption and ballistics protection. In addition, Modumetal is expected to resolve issues that are commonly associated with the lightweight alternative, ceramic armors, namely high cost and multi-hit performance.

The primary concern today with armor is the tradeoff of weight and performance. The most visible and cited example is the HMMVW fleet, which has been extensively retrofitted with RHA steel armor kits. The additional weight has decreased the range of the vehicles, caused early suspension system failures and resulted in vehicle maneuverability and handling issues.

DARPA is seeking to address this problem through materials innovation in the forum of the Challenge Program. Dr. Leo Christodoulou, DARPA Armor Challenge Program Manager, was recently quoted by Composites World to have said "DARPA has a continuing commitment to investigate approaches that will provide high-performance, lightweight, affordable ballistic production for our deployed forces". Modumetal represents a potential revolution not only in metal composites performance, but also in production costs. The challenge forum represents an important step in demonstrating the material in a ballistics performance mode.

Modumetal is a small business that is revolutionizing material and net-shape part production processes through nanostructured metal alloy fabrication. Modumetal is currently working on applications of this nano-production process for products spanning military armor and lightweight automotive parts to household consumer goods. Modumetal is located in Seattle, Washington.

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Erich Mische
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