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Case Study

Ceramic Body Armour

Ceramic armour for military vehicles and personnel - pressure-cast forming of armour components

Ceramic Body Armour

The challenge

A manufacturer of ceramic armour for military vehicles and personnel was seeking expertise regarding pressure-cast forming of armour components.

Simple shapes, such as flat plates, can be produced by semi-dry pressing, but more complex shapes, such as conformal body armour plates, would be difficult to manufacture by conventional pressing, and traditional casting methods have many limitations that can be overcome by more advanced forming techniques. The current slip casting process in Plaster of Paris moulds is very labour intensive, requires constant attention to achieve specified plate thickness, and the production rate is low. Furthermore, Plaster of Paris is not optimal for ceramic armour materials and hence mould life is short. Pressure casting offers better control of thickness, higher productivity, and lower labour requirement.

What we delivered

Our expertise in advanced ceramics, combining materials knowledge, prototyping facilities, and consultancy services, enabled us to work with the client to:

  • Provide facilities for casting trials
  • Provide mould design expertise
  • Design and source development moulds
  • Establish composition for feedstock slurry for alumina plates
  • Support the client in setting up a pilot development unit at their plant

Value to the client

The client was able to learn about and understand pressure cast production, something of which they had no previous experience. With our help they were also able to set up, quickly and cost-effectively, a pilot development unit at their plant.

The client's ultimate objective is to significantly reduce the weight of its armour plates which will give them a major commercial advantage in a rapidly developing market.