Novel Lightweight Composite System for Anti-Personnel Blast Mine Protection

Period of Performance: 08/11/2006 - 11/30/2008

$730K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Wright Materials Research CO.
1187 Richfield Center
Beavercreek, OH 45430
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Today it is estimated that there are 110 million active Anti-Personnel (AP) mines in the world, and nearly 20 million of these are concentrated in Afghanistan and Iraq. These weapons remain active for decades after a military conflict and are responsible for killing or maiming up to 500 people a week. Most of the time, a deminer is aware of the landmine, and can take his own precautions, such as increasing the standoff distance to a point where his Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) will be effective. However, the largest threat to a deminer is accidentally stepping on a mine of which he was unaware. This places his foot and his leg in almost direct contact with the explosion. At such a close proximity, the current blast protective footwear can only prevent the loss of his leg at minimal charge masses. Other options for protection are available, but they suffer from either extremely poor traction or greatly reduced mobility. Humanitarian deminers can afford to sacrifice their mobility for the significantly improved protection. However, military deminers operate at 20 feet per minute and combat troops must operate at a faster pace. In our Phase I project, we have developed a novel, lightweight blast attenuating material system to greatly improve the protection of both the current protective footwear as well as the combat boot without sacrificing any of the current traction or mobility. Impact and blast test results show that our blast attenuator can reduce the peak impact force to less than 1/3 of that encountered in the conventional blast and combat boots. With the proposed wave attenuator system the damage level of both the blast and combat boot was reduced by one level. At the end of this Phase II project our new blast attenuators will be ready for mass production and be adopted for use in the current footwear boot manufacturing and will be able to protect the entire foot from blast damage. We expect to see near an order of magnitude of improvement over the current footwear at the end of this proposed Phase II research.