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  •  Well, there's a tradeoff (8+ / 0-)

    in basic physics.

    Option a: Bullet expands on impact, either because it's soft (solid lead) or because it's designed with structural weak points (hollow point). The expanded bullet delivers its force over a larger area, so it can't penetrate a ballistic vest, but it creates larger, more damaging wounds in any material it can penetrate including human flesh.

    Option b: Bullet does not expand significantly on impact (solid-point full-metal-jacket). The non-expanded bullet creates a much smaller, neater hole, but since it delivers its force over a much smaller area, it's much more likely to penetrate ballistic material.

    Think of the difference between a sharp knife and a dull knife. When they encounter a material that the dull knife can't cut, the sharp knife will do more damage; the dull knife will only tear up the surface. But when they encounter a material that both can cut, the sharp knife will make a nice clean straight cut that could be repaired pretty easily, while the dull knife will create a nasty mangled cut/tear.

    "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

    by kyril on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 02:42:38 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  even so (0+ / 0-)

      with modern materials there must be a way to test ratios of size and malleability. does anyone even experiment on an advanced level?

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 03:40:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, yes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sethtriggs
        does anyone even experiment on an advanced level?
        The military funds a pretty good amount of research on both ammunition and body armor.

        Really, though, it's just hard to get around the physics.

        "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

        by kyril on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 06:13:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  if one material at one gauge (0+ / 0-)

          can penetrate just so far, i would think tthey could come up with a different material at the same gauge tht couldn't. perhaps that would mean its dissipating within smaller perimeters, but it seems like something that could happen. materials sciences have achieved remarkable things.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 06:50:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  At what velocity? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kyril

            Big variable.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 11:27:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  certainly a factor (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              koNko

              but i wonder if any serious research is being done. i'm guessing military research isn't about limiting and containing a bullet's destructive power.

              The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

              by Laurence Lewis on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 09:52:29 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  To the contrary (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Laurence Lewis

                I think the military research covers all angles because their broadly stated goals would be:

                - make something to defeat the other guy
                - not be defeated by the other guy if he has the same/similar

                And the information gained in research can often be applied to both tasks.

                But the question might be: how much of this research focuses on small arms?

                I'll assume quite a bit because armies have to standardize small arms over decades, so improvements would tend to be incremental and focused on the weapons that exist, which is fortunate in this case since the weapons we are concerned with are civilian versions of military hardware.

                Can this knowledge be tapped? Is anyone focused on less, rather than more lethal bullets?

                You raise good questions. Finding solutions might prove difficult, but that's not a reason not to try.

                What about my Daughter's future?

                by koNko on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 08:21:28 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  What you want are rubber/plastic bullets (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dkosdan

        I think kyril states the basic problem well.

        More malleable materials than lead are few and expensive and this doesn't solve the problem he states.

        The only approaches I see would be hard materials inside of a soft jacket (i.e., the opposite approach of a hollow point in a hard jacket) that would deform to dissipate energy and spread it over a larger surface area provided the impact resistance of the protective material was greater than n but not if less.

        That's a pretty difficult threshold to define and engineer a solution given the variables of caliber, mass and impact velocity (which I assume to be continuously variable from maximum down to zero or at least non-fatal velocity, whatever that is).

        Not a simple problem.

        I work in materials science and have done a lot of work on fracture mechanisms and sacrificial deformation including development of engineering plastics to have antagonistic properties (such as combined rigidity and elasticity, which can be done with copolymers/block copolymers) but the problem here is we want a material/form that is smart enough to discern the difference between targets with overlapping ranges of impact resistance over a range of mass/velocity. And I have to say, rate (velocity) is very important to factor.

        The other approach is making better bullet-proof armor that is light enough and cheap enough for universal use by law-abiding citizens. Kevlar is really tough, but not very cheap.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 11:26:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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