ApNano Materials, Inc., a provider of nanotechnology-based products, today announced the establishment of a subsidiary of ApNano Materials that will develop and manufacture the company's new NanoArmor™ line of nanotechnology-based bullet-proof products. The new subsidiary will start with products that enhance the performance of personal safety items such as bullet proof vests and helmets, and will continue with protection products for vehicles and aircraft.
"The company has already started negotiations with investors," said Aharon Feuerstein, ApNano Materials' Chairman and CFO. "In addition, NanoArmor potential products have already attracted huge interest from military, law enforcement and homeland security organizations and agencies in various countries."
The Nano Armor products will be based on ApNano’s proprietary nanospheres and nanotubes, which are excellent shock absorbing materials and among the most impact resistant substances known in the world today. These revolutionary nanoparticles of inorganic compounds provide exceptional shock absorbing capabilities. ApNano's nanomaterials have up to twice the strength of today’s best impact resistant protective armor materials such as boron carbide and silicon carbide used in hard armor plates, and is 4-5 times stronger than steel.
The Nano Armor products will be made of tungsten disulfide (WS2) nanoparticles, currently manufactured by ApNano Materials, under the trade name NanoArmor™. In addition, the subsidiary will develop multi-walled titanium-based nanoparticles which will enable it to produce over 50% lighter weight armor products.
NanoArmor will provide multi-hit protection as well as enhanced ballistic and blast resistance. It will enable the development of special trauma layers behind the armor, reducing the level of blunt force trauma injuries.
ApNano's nanospheres were tested by a research group headed by Dr. Yan Qiu Zhu of the School of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering, at the University of Nottingham, England. The material was subjected to severe shocks generated by firing shots at it at impact velocities of up to 1.5 km/second. The nanospheres withstood the shock pressures generated by the impacts of up to 250 tons per square centimeter. The nanospheres are so strong that after the impact the samples remained essentially identical compared to the starting material. In contrast, similarly structured hollow spheres of carbon, fail under much lower pressures of less than one tenth of those that the nanospheres can survive. Apnano's nanospheres are termed inorganic fullerene-like nanostructures, or IF for short. Fullerenes are soccer ball-like clusters of atoms, named after R. Buckminster Fuller, architect of the geodesic dome that he designed for the 1967 Montreal World Exhibition.
ApNano's nanotubes were also found as ultra-strong impact resistant material. "The unique nanotubes of ApNano Materials are up to 4-5 times stronger than steel and about 6 times stronger than Kevlar, a popular material today for bullet proof vests," said Professor Reshef Tenne, The Drake Family Chair in Nanotechnology at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, and the Director of Helen and Martin Kimmel Center for Nanoscale Science, who co-discovered the unique nanoparticles.
"Laboratory experiments conducted by Nobel Laureate Professor Sir Harold Kroto and his colleagues have demonstrated that ApNano’s nanotubes are strong enough to withstand a pressure of 21 GPa (Gigapascal) – the equivalent of 210 tons per square centimeter,” said Dr. Menachem Genut, President and CEO of ApNano Materials. Dr. Genut was a research fellow in the original research group which discovered the IF nanoparticles at the Weizmann Institute and first to synthesize the new materials.
Recently ApNano Materials opened a new 1,000 square meter manufacturing facility in Israel. The facility houses a semi-industrial reactor with a production capacity of tons of the company's nanomaterial. The new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility meets international guidelines for health, safety and manufacturing of nanomaterials.
ApNano has already launched another product, NanoLub®, the world's first commercial nanotechnology-based solid lubricant. “NanoLub has been shown in numerous independent tests worldwide to reduce friction and wear significantly better than conventional lubricants, especially under extreme conditions such as very high loads,” said Dr. Niles Fleischer, Vice President of Business Development and Vice President of Product Development of ApNano Materials.