Armor Technology, Blog

The Science of Graphene

Graphene is a material that is getting a lot of attention.  People are asking what is graphene, how can it be used, and what does it cost?  The purpose of this post is to discuss graphene in greater detail and provide answers to those questions.

What is graphene?

Graphene is a layer of carbon atoms that is one atom thick.  The atoms are arranged in a hexagonal pattern called a lattice.  You probably remember your #2 pencils having graphite in them.  It is an amazingly versatile substance.  Some even call it a wonder material with its seemingly never-ending list of properties and uses.

What is graphene used for?

As graphene is such a versatile material and has the ability to be combined with metal and gases, the applications are limitless.  There are scientists worldwide looking into what they can do with graphene.  Some common areas of research and application include antennas, batteries, body armor, computer chips, DNA sequencing, energy generation, solar cells, supercapacitors, touchscreens, transistors, and water filters.

Can graphene stop a bullet?

Yes, indeed it can!  Citizen Armor bulletproof vests function on this fact.  Our armor is designed to be a soft body armor option that benefits from graphene microfiber.  Layers of graphene sheets are positioned to provide NIJ Level 3A ballistic protection.  That means they can stop up to a .44 magnum.  While other types of armor can do the same, they weigh more and often cannot take multiple impacts.  One of our Citizen Armor vests, featuring our Protek graphene armor, has taken 113 bullets without penetration.  Check it out!

Is graphene stronger than a diamond?

Yes, it is.  Graphene is currently the strongest material that’s been discovered by science.  The atoms are so tightly bonded that it is stronger than diamond and 200 times stronger than steel.  Despite being that strong, graphene is also flexible and stretchable.  

Why is graphene not used?

There are applications where graphene would work, but due to its cost, it is not feasible. As technology advances in the production of high quality one atom thick layers of graphene, the costs will likely go down, and it will be used for a much wider range of applications. 

Graphene Price

One thing to keep in mind is that the quality of graphene affects the price.  Graphene oxide, which is easier to produce, is sold in a solution for about $120 USD for 250 mL.  According to Investor Intel, graphene sells for between $100 and $200 per gram.  

Citizen Armor offers body armor products featuring graphene starting at $99 dollars for a 7×10 inch bulletproof backpack insert.  For school or the office, we offer graphene armored bulletproof binders starting at $249.  Our bulletproof vests start at $599 for a fully concealable vest.

How To Make Graphene

Graphene can come in two forms, sheets and flakes.  Graphene sheets are more difficult to make, but they do lend themselves to higher-end fabrication processes.  The flakes by contrast are less costly to produce and are often used in electronics and sports equipment.  

Graphene sheets are produced via a chemical vapor deposition process.  This is achieved by combining gas molecules in a reaction chamber at room temperature.  The gas leaves deposits on a substrate and after the gases are removed from the chamber it leaves a sheet of graphene. 

Graphene flakes, by contrast, are much more simple to produce. Methane, which is rich in carbon, reacts with copper to produce graphene at high temperatures.  The copper is heated to 1,000 degrees Celsius and is then exposed to methane.  Graphene will form on the copper as a result of the heat.  

Graphene Properties

At one atom thick, graphene is the thinnest material that has been discovered by man.  It is 200 times stronger than steel.  In addition to being thin and strong, it is an excellent conductor of electricity and heat, along with fascinating light absorption properties. 

Blog, Body Armor

Female Body Armor | Engineered For Form Following Function

Through the past few decades as women have increasingly joined the armed forces and law enforcement, the need for body armor made for females has also increased.  USA Today reported that all branches of the military are seeing an increase in female soldiers.  Most notably is the US Air Force, with 21% of its members being female.  Even outside of the armed forces, more and more consumers are interested in female body armor for civilians. Due in large part to the general perception of civil unrest mixed with recent conditions of quarantine and competition for supplies.

Primary Differences in Female Body Armor

Weight

One of the most important differences between male and female body armor is weight.  Older bulletproof vests are made from heavier materials and simply weigh more.  Efforts have been made to reduce weight for both males and female bulletproof vests.  This helps reduce fatigue while improving mobility.

Size

One of the primary issues with body armor for females has been size.  Statistically women are smaller than men, and vests made for males are generally too large for females.  When vests are too large they can put pressure on the rest of the gear a soldier is wearing.  This can push equipment belts and sidearm holsters into their bodies.  When soldiers are distracted by their gear they are less effective in whichever role they are fulfilling.

Coverage

Some body armor manufacturers have chosen to accommodate the female form by cutting back on coverage.  A well known armor company has a “swimmer’s cut” option which does provide some protection for vital organs.  

Citizen Armor provides the same coverage for female body armor as we do with options for males.  Our lightweight soft body armor materials allow for better custom fitted female body armor without sacrificing coverage to provide a more comfortable fit. 

Shoulder Cutouts

Shoulder cutouts are areas of the vest that are made smaller for female vests.  This is especially relevant when discussing using firearms while wearing the body armor.  The correct position to fire most rifles is fairly specific in the shoulder area.  To be anchored correctly and shoot accurately, body armor for females had to be designed to ensure that this area is clear.  This advancement in body armor allows females to position the butt of rifles property to reduce trauma while operating a firearm.

Shape

There are certain obvious biological differences between men and women.  Female body armor is designed and fabricated to be more form fitting while still fulfilling its function.  This means that the waist area is more fitted and contoured to the shape of the female form  in addition to improved accommodations for larger chests.  Body armor manufacturers accomplish this by using a technique called darting.  Darting is the use of overlapping fabric to create angles which can provide a more fitted design, specifically around the breast area. This ensures a closer fit of ballistic materials to ensure increased comfort and protection.   

How Many Armor Companies Offer Female Bulletproof Vests?

Outside of those who supply the military with bulletproof vests,  civilians have a number of sources for female body armor.  Most of these options are from body armor companies that produce vests with older technologies which are cumbersome, heavy and ill fitted for females.  

Citizen Armor  has proudly designed and manufactured two female body armor options.  These are the V-Shield Ultra Conceal Female Vest and the Civvy Covert Female Vest

Each of these vests are available in smaller form fitting sizes specifically designed for women.  They are both concealable and Level 3A NIJ tested.  Not only are they designed for protection, but also boast all day comfort for female wearers.  The fabrics used in our vests are selected for comfort and their moisture wicking and durable characteristics. In addition, our female vests have a starting weight of only 2.2 lbs for vital protection and only 3 lbs for full armor coverage.  We pride ourselves in designing for the modern age using cutting edge technology, to provide effective armor solutions for both men and women.

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