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Saturday, 10 July 2010

image for Fabric from planet Krypton 'can stop bullets'; Clark Kent and Dr Shazam aid in tests
Fabric stops bullets and gives that fashionable five-color 'good guy' look to body armour.

Fabric from the planet Krypton, home of celebrity crime-fighter Superman, has been shown to literally stop bullets in tests carried out by UK scientists at BAE systems in Bristol. A scrap of the material was provided by reporter Clark Kent, known associate of Superman, for testing by BAE systems.

The researchers have combined samples of this "Krypto-fab" fabric with Kevlar to create a new bullet-proof material.

The company is keeping the chemical formula of "Krypto-fab" fabric a secret, but it works by absorbing the force of the bullet strike and responding to it by becoming much thicker and far more super-heroic.

The BAE scientists describe it as "bullet-proof flannel", providing not only protection from bullets but also a soft and comforting feel to the wearer.

"It's very similar to a fluffy baby blanket in the sense that the molecules lock together when it's struck," explained Stewart Penny, business development manager in charge of materials development at the company.

"Well, more in the sense that it's fluffy and comfy, the bullet-proofing is just an added bonus should the material ever be marketed as actual baby blankets."

Mysterious, magical and extraterrestrial fabrics are not new to military research. The US Army Research Laboratories has carried out tests using top secret fluffy stuffed toys under top secret security guard in Area 51 as well as testing various materials provided by Bruce Wayne on behalf of close friend Batman.

British and American military specialists have performed highly secret work over the last decade on unspecified materials provided by the reclusive wizard Shazam, best known as the scientist who chose the late Billy Batson, using the pseudonym Captain Marvel, to help rid the world of Evil back in 1939.

Billy Batson himself died in 1972 on an as-yet undeclassified mission into Cambodia during the Vietnam War.

But, according to BAE, these latest tests provide the first clear evidence that fluffy fabrics could effectively protect soldiers from bullets or shrapnel.

They say the fabrics, if effectively reproduced, could ultimately be used to make much lighter, more flexible and more colorful bullet-proof vests for soldiers.

"In standard bullet-proof vests, we use thick, heavy, layered plates of Kevlar that restricts movement, contributes to fatigue and does not come in stylish 'good guy' colors," said Clark Kent in the news release.

In the tests, scientists used a large gas gun to fire ball bearing-shaped metal bullets at over 300 metres per second into two test materials - 31 layers of untreated kevlar and 10 layers of kevlar combined with the "Krypto-fab".

"The Kevlar with added "Krypto-fab" stops bullets much faster and the impact isn't anything like as deep," Mr Kent explained. "You hardly feel a thing"

The results were presented to journalists during a preview of future defence technology at BAE's Advanced Technology Centre in Fibbers, Bristol.

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