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Non destructive testing of soft body armor

NCJ Number
Date Published

This Master’s thesis proposes a new, portable, non-destructive testing procedure for soft body armor that would solve the destructive nature of previous armor testing practices.


The author’s research goal was to address the destructive nature of current body armor testing practices, noting that mechanical factors such as folding, stretching, and rubbing as well as environmental factors such as exposure to humidity, sweat, and ultraviolet lite can cause the degradation of body armor safety. The new testing procedure proposed in this thesis involve non-destructive evaluation of soft body armor that would resolve the previous concerns of testing practices that stem from the penetration phenomenon of bullets being fired at the vest, and would lead to the building of a portable set-up which could be carried to any location to test jackets quickly. The author examined five out of the six types of body armor: Type I, .22 LR, .380 ACP; Type IIA, 9 mm; .40 S-W; Type II, 9 mm; .357 Magnum; Type IIIA, .357 SIG; .44 Magnum; and Type III, rifles. The remaining soft armor for Type IV, armor piercing rifles, was not examined.

Date Published: January 1, 2015