On the 28th and 29th of June, the consortium of the FP7 project SMARTPRO met in Aachen, Germany for its 28 months meeting. It was hosted by the RWTH (Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule) Aachen. Partners discussed the recent activities made by each partner in order to find the best materials to combine with the aim to create a lighweight and flexible body armour. Each partner brought its expertise in the field of textile, ballistic and use. Each time the Mossos d’Esquadra bring a important input to tell industrials and researchers their needs in the outside world.
About the project: SMARTPRO will develop lightweight and flexible protective clothing, incorporating smart functionalities, designated for daily use by law enforcement authorities.
Modern body armours still have some drawbacks, as they are mostly heavy, bulky and rigid. Therefore they limit the wearer’s mobility and agilityand are impractical for use on joints, arms, legs, etc. Moreover, body armours have traditionally been designed toprotect the wearer against ballistic threats and, thus, they provide only a limited level of protection against knives,sharp blades or sharp-tipped weapons. However, stab and puncture have become amain cause of police officers’ injuries. Therefore, there is an obvious need to develop materials that combine staband ballistic protection, while retaining their flexibility and low weight.
In this context SMARTPRO aims to develop optimized ballistic textiles (both woven and spacer knittedfabrics) and apply innovative surface treatments (e.g. shear thickening fluids, ceramic coatings) to improve theirperformance on an areal density basis. Thus, fewer fabric layers will be required, which is expected to result inincreased flexibility and reduced weight of the armour. Main parameters to consider also include physiologicalcomfort and ergonomic design.
Additionally, smart functions, including positioning systems, will be integrated to further increase the efficiency of the body armour, eventually leading to reduced casualties. Finally, while a main limitation is that existing protective gear is usually limited to the body armour; innovativesolutions are herein proposed for the protection of vulnerable body parts other than the torso.