Over 45 metric tons of boron carbide per year is produced worldwide. This material is known for its high strength and hardness and low density. Only diamond has a better abrasive resistance. It is the hardest material produced in tonnage quantities.
A major application area for these high strength nanomaterials is light weight armor for personnel and light vehicles.
At the heart of this technology is a new method for the preparation of nanoparticles of boron carbide in development at CUNY’s Center for Advanced Technology (CUNY CAT). With this process, the particles generated are fine grained and can be produced with minimal contamination levels in the product. Using inexpensive starting precursors as well as conventional tube furnace technology these materials can now be easily produced and easily scaled up for mass production. This powder is then consolidated into very light weight, high strength “slabs”. Used as the protective material in armor applications these Boron Carbide Nanoparticle slabs make an extremely strong and light weight ballistic absorbing material.