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Brady T





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PostPosted: Thu 22 Nov, 2012 9:19 pm    Post subject: Modern/medieval armour/weapon question for fiction         Reply with quote

I'm trying to do some fiction stuff (something resembling urban fantasy), please humor at least some of my questions. Using the best modern-day production methods and materials possible, how and out of what would one make the most effective (or at least a reasonably effective) set of heavy armour and/or light armour for general use, as well as some sharp, sturdy weapons; I'm thinking a relatively long, straight one-handed sword with a buckler or other small shield, as well as a spear capable of both thrusting and slashing, and some daggers, one of which should be a parrying dagger of some kind.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Thu 22 Nov, 2012 11:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Today there are a lot more alloys and advanced hardening technologies but steel is still the best material we have for metal armour and weapons.
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Brady T





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PostPosted: Fri 23 Nov, 2012 12:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wouln't necessarily have to be just metal armour, although it probably would be the best option most of the time. What about stuff like what they use in modern-day ballistic vests? Would those materials be too easily penetrated by sharp weapons, or would the stuff used in them be potentially useful? I think it's also worth considering stuff like mail that was often worn under plate; that could be changed as well.
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Nat Lamb




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Nov, 2012 12:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While I bow down bofore Dan's vastly superior knowledge of historic armour, I wonder weather some modern materials might not greatly enhance the efectiveness of metal armour if used in conjuction with it. I am thinking of the impact stiffening "foam" use in some motercross armour, that stuff would be fantastic under mail for instance.
Dan is probably right that it is probably the processes rather than material that would really make the diference, I imagine that using modern welders mail that was made up of nothing but solid links would be pretty hardy stuff.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Nov, 2012 4:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd expect the most dramatic improvements to be in the area of arming garments and/or flexible textile armour. We can make stab-resistant vests these days--not entirely proof against thrusts and cuts, but far better than nothing at all and probably capable of offering the same level of protection as a medieval padded arming garment for substantially less weight (or more protection at the same weight). With these stab-resistant fibres and weaves there'd be less need for mail (or something similar) to cover the gaps that would have been quite difficult to protect with plate articulations. The complete set of undergarments might even make a decent standalone suit of light armour when worn without the plate elements.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Nov, 2012 1:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Does anyone actually have data for these new flexible stab-resistant materials? It isn't possible to determine which is better until a comparison is made against a reasonable replica of historical mail, not the bollocks used in most of these tests.
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Nat Lamb




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Nov, 2012 2:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was thinking of this sort of thing http://www.d3o.com/consumer/personal-protection/

I imagine would work rather well as an armiong garment.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Nov, 2012 2:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A heat dissipating under layer would be very useful as heat exhaustion is a real problem with plate armour even when standing still and even worse when expending a lot of energy fighting or running.

Composite plate with a hardened steel top layer and some carbon fiber or other light weight but extremely strong materials under the steel.

There is also high tech flexible materials that stiffen and make the material rigid over a wide area when hit by a high velocity, high energy blow or projectile turning flexible armour into something rigid like plate giving better blunt trauma protection than soft armour no matter how cut resistant it might be..

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Ian S LaSpina




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PostPosted: Fri 23 Nov, 2012 3:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Do some research on Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Polymers. Carbon nanotubes are proving to be much stronger and harder than steel, and are being investigated as anti-ballistic armor already. They are also incredibly light. Here's an article on their use as an anti-ballistic device.

http://iopscience.iop.org/0957-4484/18/47/475...475701.pdf

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Joe Wolowicz




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Nov, 2012 5:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey guys, I'm not very skilled when it comes to metal armors and what not, but I can tell you that I was in the Marines for four years and most modern armors that I have run across are small caliber resistant, however AP, HP, FMJ, these rounds go right through most Kevlar or other basic weaved armors. I will also tell you that flak jackets are not EVEN CLOSE to being puncture proof or even even resistant. We used to joke that if Afganies would be smart enough to shoot arrows at us that we would all die.

Of course now there are SAPPI plates that are placed into flak jackets, and they are piece proof, but oddly they are heavy and of course cumbersome, so if someone wearing a jacket like that had to fight someone with a sword that had no armor he would be sorely at a disadvantage just because of the lack of mobility.

I really hope that helps slightly!

Joe
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Nov, 2012 8:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How about Titanium ring all welded maille?

There are also aluminium/titanium alloys almost as strong as tempered high quality steel that weigh 1/4 of steel. Imagine a full body haubergonne and leggings in that material. Tailored to fit and not restrict movement (with small bags to add material in the armpits, a taken in waistline, added bag at the elbow and widenings going diagonal over the under arm as I've seen on 15th century close fitting arm sleeve maille.

Then thin impact foam under armour. The modern day impact foams are simply amazing. I've tried paintball knee pads made from the stuff, just 5 mm thick they can let me slam down from standing to kneeling without even feeling the shock. Far better kinetic absorbtion than anything available historically.

For heavier armour Dan is quite right. Modern day quality steel and modern day tempering methods are vastly superior to historically available counterparts. You could have a full plate made in military grade armor plating steel.

Of course, again, titanium alloy plate armour would be somewhat ligher than steel, or made thinner. It wouldn't be better protection but a bit lighter.

I've been thinking about if one could make a working ceramic plate armour. This would be good at stopping bullets. But probably shatter on impact.
Have fun with this, someone in the story might have dreamed up what they think is the perfect armour, just to find it lacking in a real fight. My god, that dudes chest plate just shattered from a sword blow! Tough luck!
Or for that matter, what if the maille is made from a great material but the fit isn't tailored so it hinders movement and chafes a lot. This could all add flavor to the story.

For some really light armour, kydex plastic weighs very little.
I don't think it would really stop a larger hand weapon like steel plate would, but a knife, sure, especially if the attacker didn't know it was there. It can offer some protection to bigger weapons too, while weighing almost nothing. Kydex comes in various qualities, where the cheapest is sensitive to cold (shatters in winter time) while the best and most expensive have modern day military applications (parts of apache helicopters were made of this suff).
A nice thing about kydex is that you can pop it in the oven in your home, take it out and (with a wet towel between you and it, mould it to your body. It can give some light burns though. If done right this could be made invisible under clothing.
There's also poly carbon. 2 mm will stop even a determined knife thrust, maybe even a powerful sword thrust, at least enough to save the wearer from fatal injury. Won't stop a bullet though. For that you need it real thick.
Poly carbon is the material Myth Busters and other shows use for protective screeens.
Not as easy to mould to shape, but given enough money one can have industry make moulded well fitting armour. Probably transparent too.


As for weapons:
A sword with built in cattle prod shocker... At the press of a button. Steel armour won't help, but padding under it might unless it's soaked through with sweat.
How about a gravity sword. We have gravity knives, so why not a sword... Spring surprise. Probably not as strong as a heavy crossbow, but perhaps as strong as a light one. Or maybe it won't work at all, and jsut bounce off armour ineffectively. Even more flavor and perhaps some humour.
Also, chainsaw... Chain sword... Just thinking... Maybe I've been playing too much 40K.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge


Last edited by Johan Gemvik on Sat 24 Nov, 2012 8:41 am; edited 2 times in total
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Matthew P. Adams




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Nov, 2012 8:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What will this armor be expected to contend with? Just other hand weapons? Small arms fire? Rifle fire? Would heat or electricity resistance be a factor? What sort of climate will your warrior be fighting in? Will there be more one on one dueling fights, or melee combat? Does it need to be zombie bite proof?

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Ian S LaSpina




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Nov, 2012 8:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Modern rifle plates, like SAPI plates (anti-ballistic ceramic plates) would be useless as medieval armor. They're only good once. Once a level iv rifle plate is shot, it breaks. The breaking of the plate is the mechanism that protects the wearer. Making medieval armor out of it would be cumbersome, and useless after the first hit.

The future of armor is in polymers, carbon nanotubes, and the combination of those things to take advantage of the strengths of each and reduce some of the disadvantages.

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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Nov, 2012 8:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

About the nanotubes, I love this seemingly indestructible material. But are we talking a story in the present day or in the near or even distant future (where dragon wings are made from the stuff)?

You can make tests with it in a lab now, but can you really manufacture armour from it unless you're that fictional billionaire/genious Tony Stark?

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Ian S LaSpina




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Nov, 2012 8:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The very real F-35, which I will very shortly be sharing airspace with unfortunately, uses epoxy reinforced carbon nanotubes in its structural components.

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/loc...es-357223/

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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Nov, 2012 8:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ian S LaSpina wrote:
The very real F-35, which I will very shortly be sharing airspace with unfortunately, uses epoxy reinforced carbon nanotubes in its structural components.

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/loc...es-357223/


Yay! The future is already here. Happy

Allright, so the material is viable for use in high-tech big bucks armour then.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Nov, 2012 1:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Johan Gemvik wrote:
Ian S LaSpina wrote:
The very real F-35, which I will very shortly be sharing airspace with unfortunately, uses epoxy reinforced carbon nanotubes in its structural components.

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/loc...es-357223/


Yay! The future is already here. Happy

Allright, so the material is viable for use in high-tech big bucks armour then.

No it isn't. It is viable for load bearing structures in aircraft and other similar applications. The mechanical properties required for this are not the same as those required for body armour. I agree that carbon nanotubes will be a superior substitute for materials like polyethylene fibre (dyneema), but only when they discover how to create long, contiguous threads. That hasn't been done yet. Right now IIRC the record is a few centimeters. So far, any attempt to create a thread longer than this has resulted in destroying the properties that make nanotubes viable in the first place. There are some recent experiments that look promising but nobody is there yet.

http://en.kisti.re.kr/blog/post/carbon-nanotu...developed/
http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2012...ts-muscles

And even if they do produce anti-ballistic armour made from nanotube thread we already know from previous woven armours like kevlar and dyneema that they may not be equally effective against other weapons like arrows and blade points.

Keep in mind that it took 50 years to take polyethylene fibre from theory to the laboratory and initial prototypes, and a further 11 years to commercialise the manufacturing process. We won't be seeing commercially-produced nanotube fibre body armour any time soon.


Last edited by Dan Howard on Sat 24 Nov, 2012 2:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Nov, 2012 2:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are a couple of reports on the results of balistic tests against titanium and steel alloys.
http://ftp.rta.nato.int/public//PubFullText/R...%29-12.pdf
http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA420984

From what I can gather titanium isn't as magical as first thought. A carefully-selected modern steel alloy and the right hardening recipe still seems to be the best option but a combination of the two might be a plausible alternative. If I was to make medieval armour using available technology today I'd choose mail (or a mail-and-plates combination) made fom a modern alloy of hardened steel. Welded links, 1.2-3 mm wire, 4mm ID. Layer this over an aketon made from a polyethylene fibre such as dyneema or spectra.
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Graham Shearlaw





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PostPosted: Sat 24 Nov, 2012 3:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

With modern-day production methods steel armor can be made just like a car or any other stamped steel item.

as for getting to fit some thing like the roman lorica segmentata or a lamellar made with steel cabes can quicky be made to fit most people.

youed need an under layer, and this would have most of the modern-day stuff i.e. fire proximity or hazmat suit.
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Nat Lamb




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Nov, 2012 4:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nano crystaline cellulose is another material that might be an "interesting" addition to potential armour materials in the near future. I have heard that it is both tough and hard (normal comparisons to "steel" without specifying type or temper), and will be cheep and easaly fabricated. The fact that it is transperant might make madesty the biggest impediment to its use as armour Wink Blush

edit: bit of searching, reported tensile strength of 215 megapascels. What that means I will leave to people with a clue.
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