Novel Lightweight Composite System for Anti-Personnel Blast Mine Protection

Period of Performance: 12/20/2004 - 06/20/2005

$120K

Phase 1 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 must operate at 20 feet per minute. In this Phase I project, we propose to develop a novel, lightweight blast attenuating material system to greatly improve the protection of the current blast protective footwear without sacrificing any of the current traction or mobility. Our system can protect the entire foot from blast damage. And can easily be adopted for use in the current footwear.