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Mark Hamilton





Joined: 23 Jul 2009

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PostPosted: Mon 10 Aug, 2009 2:36 pm    Post subject: Armour and modern materials         Reply with quote

I was wondering, if today one were to make armour for use in, say the 13th century, and had access to a full range of modern materials, what would be the best material?

Would steel still be the best option, or is there something else available now that would be more effective? I realise that modern steel is superior to medieval steel, but is there anything else that would be even better?
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Nat Lamb




Location: Melbourne, Australia
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PostPosted: Tue 11 Aug, 2009 3:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as metal goes, no, steel is the best. Titanium is stronger for weight, but far less dense, so to get the same strength you would need unfeasably thick plates. Tungsten is awsome hard... but heavy as hell. I can't think of any other metals that are in the same ballpark for combo of strength/weight/hardness. For other materiels I cant realy say, I don't even know enough about modern plastics / composite materials to realise how much I don't know.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 11 Aug, 2009 6:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Depleted Uranium ? if it's good enough for the Abrams tank .......... Wink

Seriously, I have no idea if Uranium works well in small thin plates for plate armour and it is very heavy.

Residual radioactivity is probably low but not low enough to have in close contact with one's skin.

Another alternate modern material might be some sort of very hard to cut semi-rigid plastic that would also absorb blunt impact. A high tech cooling or warming system might also be an advantage for combat endurance. Ventilation needing no openings in the armour that could give 100% coverage with no breath or vision holes being needed.

While we are at it the above is sort of like an " IRONMAN " full body armour ...... Hmmmmm: Well maybe the question is more for substitute materials having the same look and design as regular steel plate armour but both stronger, lighter and corrosion proof. Big Grin

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Steven H




Location: Boston
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PostPosted: Tue 11 Aug, 2009 8:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm gonna suggest a polycarbonate, nylon laminate. Polycarbonate because of it's high strength to weight and nylon because of it's flexibility. Polycarbonate is used for riot shields and bullet proof glass. And my nylon wasters are nearly indestructible.

But I'm not structural engineer so their may be something I overlooked.

Cheers,
Steven

Kunstbruder - Boston area Historical Combat Study
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Mark Hamilton





Joined: 23 Jul 2009

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PostPosted: Tue 11 Aug, 2009 9:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting ideas! Not sure if I'd want to walk around in a suit of depleted uranium though! At least not until I've sired my share of kids! I dare say an irradiated cod piece would play havoc with one's 'equipment'!

Its curious idea that's played on my mind for a while, whether, with 1000 years of material science and bio mechanics, we'd be able to make more effective armour than a smith in the 12th/13th century. Certainly my main query would be toward some sort of resin/polycarbonate or advanced alloy that would give better protection to weight, and allow greater functionality to the wearer. Does anyone know if there are any non-rigid materials that could do the job?
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Steven H




Location: Boston
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PostPosted: Tue 11 Aug, 2009 10:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Hamilton wrote:

Its curious idea that's played on my mind for a while, whether, with 1000 years of material science and bio mechanics, we'd be able to make more effective armour than a smith in the 12th/13th century. Certainly my main query would be toward some sort of resin/polycarbonate or advanced alloy that would give better protection to weight, and allow greater functionality to the wearer. Does anyone know if there are any non-rigid materials that could do the job?


Bio-mechanically speaking Medieval and Renaissance plate armours were brilliant and I wouldn't change 'em.

You reminded me that there are some nifty non-rigid materials that could be used. There are gels that harden in repsonse forceful impact. They are used, for instance, by stunt performers. Such materials would be fantastic for making a modern fighting harness.

Cheers,
Steven

Kunstbruder - Boston area Historical Combat Study
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Nathan F




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PostPosted: Tue 11 Aug, 2009 10:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

this is interesting i must say. i have thought about it myself
if anyone works at the pentagon any ideas Big Grin
seriously though its true anatomically these suits were perfect in some cases and there are cases of armorers watching customers sleep to accurately gauge their bodies.
i know that recently when nasa had to make their suits the copied many techniques for segmented armour construction.
and i heard that more recently many armies are looking at it again for more complete protecion for soldiers.
but war has changed so the type of armour u mentioned went out of use and armour went backwards in design.
on material maybe carbon fibre? or modern balitic ceramics if they can stop a rifle round maybe they could make a good breast plate?

for here starts war carrion birds sing, and grey wolves howl
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Tue 11 Aug, 2009 4:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steven H wrote:


Bio-mechanically speaking Medieval and Renaissance plate armours were brilliant and I wouldn't change 'em.


I share this view. In automotive or other situations where collision and safety coincide, deformation of the material is needed. In the case of armour, repair is also a factor. Steel is "good to beat" in this sense. You actually don't want it indestructible as its deformation is part of what protects the wearer in falls, lance and weapon impacts, etc. I like the plastic idea quite a bit. But, not for hypothetical teleport back to 13th century use. (My guess is they would not be/ have been able to repair and maintain it.)

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Justin King
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PostPosted: Tue 11 Aug, 2009 4:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some of the shape memory alloys may have interesting qualities in this regard. Also the mentioned liquid and semi-liquid compounds that instantaneously harden to a solid or near solid state under impact are in fact being experimented with for possible applications in body armor and other types of armor.
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Justin King
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PostPosted: Tue 11 Aug, 2009 4:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, yeah, don't forget about exploding armor Eek! -no, really!!! - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactive_armour -AKA "explosive reactive armor" and other types of reactive armor-obviously most of these are not practical for body armor but it's too cool not to mention. I want some of this on my truck (hit me, I dare you...)
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Jason M. Rogers




Location: Lorton Virginia
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PostPosted: Tue 11 Aug, 2009 9:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steel is no longer even a realistic contender. There are already so many off the shelf armors in use today.

Bullet resistant vests such as offered by second chance can also be purchase with a stab resistance rating. A stab proof level 3 vest would not be able to be penetrated by anything medieval tech could bring to bear on the battle field. Even ballistae would not be able to pierce it, the wearer would be tossed aside before any object could compromise the vest. Unless the wearer was pined against a massive object and could not be moved and even then the wearer would probably just be crushed.

You may also want to look into the latest armor breakthrough called dragon skin. It is made of titanium and ceramic laminate "coins" sown onto a backing. It will stop 7.62n mm round and is more flexible and breathable the ballistic panels or ceramic level 4 sappy plates in armor on the modern battle field. This is the stuff that the secrets service uses because it offers level 4 protection and is less bulky than a level 3a kevlar vest. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Skin_(body_armor)

No sword, dagger, spike, spear, axe, arrow, bolt or anything else can penetrate modern stab prof armor. Hammers and lances and the like could still deliver crushing injuries because the stuff is very flexible.
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Maurizio D'Angelo




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Aug, 2009 1:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

hi all,
I do not know the English term, but there is a plastic product and patented by an American industry. This is used for the windows of military aircraft. It is transparent, flexible, hard impacts, with a better resistance of steels. Cool
But I would not ever see a medieval armor made with this material. Eek! Razz

Ciao
Maurizio
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Mark Hamilton





Joined: 23 Jul 2009

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PostPosted: Wed 12 Aug, 2009 1:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maurizio D'Angelo wrote:
hi all,
I do not know the English term, but there is a plastic product and patented by an American industry. This is used for the windows of military aircraft. It is transparent, flexible, hard impacts, with a better resistance of steels. Cool
But I would not ever see a medieval armor made with this material. Eek! Razz

Ciao
Maurizio


Sounds like that would be quite a nice match for Albion's April fool sword:)
http://www.albion-swords.com/april-1-2009.htm
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Maurizio D'Angelo




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Aug, 2009 2:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Hamilton wrote:
Maurizio D'Angelo wrote:
hi all,
I do not know the English term, but there is a plastic product and patented by an American industry. This is used for the windows of military aircraft. It is transparent, flexible, hard impacts, with a better resistance of steels. Cool
But I would not ever see a medieval armor made with this material. Eek! Razz

Ciao
Maurizio


Sounds like that would be quite a nice match for Albion's April fool sword:)
http://www.albion-swords.com/april-1-2009.htm


hi Mark,

No, I consider, Albion among the best manufacturers of swords in the world, along with the Del Tin and A & A, maybe I forgot someone, surely. Manufacturers make what the public demands. Personally, but it is only personal, not buy weapons and armor made with high-tech materials. This only for historical accuracy. Happy

Maurizio
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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Wed 12 Aug, 2009 6:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jason,

Jason M. Rogers wrote:
No sword, dagger, spike, spear, axe, arrow, bolt or anything else can penetrate modern stab prof armor. Hammers and lances and the like could still deliver crushing injuries because the stuff is very flexible.


A powerful blow from a two-handed sword includes a lot of blunt force power as well. The armour might remain intact, but what's underneath it might look unpleasant. Wink

Cheers,

Christian

Christian Henry Tobler
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Glennan Carnie




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Aug, 2009 6:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason M. Rogers wrote:

No sword, dagger, spike, spear, axe, arrow, bolt or anything else can penetrate modern stab prof armor.


We don't like to advertise this, but we did some shooting at a standard UK police-issue stab vest. The arrows went through both sides of the stab vest without stopping (you can see why we don't like to make a big thing of this!)

I'll try and dig out the photo of the stab vest plate with the arrowhead wedged through it. We still can't get it out!

In that respect the medieval brigandine is far superior. But then, the police don't expect to face criminals with high-power warbows these days...
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Steven H




Location: Boston
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PostPosted: Wed 12 Aug, 2009 7:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason M. Rogers wrote:
Bullet resistant vests such as offered by second chance can also be purchase with a stab resistance rating. A stab proof level 3 vest would not be able to be penetrated by anything medieval tech could bring to bear on the battle field. Even ballistae would not be able to pierce it, the wearer would be tossed aside before any object could compromise the vest. Unless the wearer was pined against a massive object and could not be moved and even then the wearer would probably just be crushed.


Hello,

What are these stab vest being made with? I hadn't heard about any that good.

Thanks,
Steven

Kunstbruder - Boston area Historical Combat Study
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Aug, 2009 8:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Glennan Carnie wrote:
Jason M. Rogers wrote:

No sword, dagger, spike, spear, axe, arrow, bolt or anything else can penetrate modern stab prof armor.


We don't like to advertise this, but we did some shooting at a standard UK police-issue stab vest. The arrows went through both sides of the stab vest without stopping (you can see why we don't like to make a big thing of this!)

I'll try and dig out the photo of the stab vest plate with the arrowhead wedged through it. We still can't get it out!

In that respect the medieval brigandine is far superior. But then, the police don't expect to face criminals with high-power warbows these days...


The intent of those stab proof vests is probably the average kitchen knife that is used/mis-used in 90% of stabbing cases with the occasional higher quality hunting or " tactical " knife for the remainder of cases.

Also, much more effective against indifferently sharpened edges while a true razor edge will be much more effective in cutting/stabbing through.

Probably these vests could be made " knife proof " against higher level treat levels but cost and the odds of needing better protection is probably a factor. (Low bidder winning the UK police contract maybe ??? ).

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Wed 12 Aug, 2009 8:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As a plate armour specialist, I'd like to clear something up; full plate armour is not something that comes into its own until the late 14th/ early 15th centuries. It reaches its height of ergonomic efficiency in the early 16th century, although I prefer the aesthetics of the mid 15th in Italy and the last quarter of the 15th c. in the Germanies, especially the Augsburg style. In the 13th century, mail is still the premier armour in Western Europe, though plate and other rigid additions are beginning to assume greater and greater importance.
jamesarlen.com
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Ron Reuter




Location: Southern Indiana
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PostPosted: Wed 12 Aug, 2009 9:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maurizio D'Angelo wrote:
hi all,
I do not know the English term, but there is a plastic product and patented by an American industry. This is used for the windows of military aircraft. It is transparent, flexible, hard impacts, with a better resistance of steels. Cool
But I would not ever see a medieval armor made with this material. Eek! Razz

Ciao
Maurizio


Maurizio,

Sounds like Lexan. I used to work with it, a long time ago. Really, tough stuff! Used in bullet proof glass.

Ron
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