Establishing the performance requirements for stab-resistant Additive Manufactured Body Armour (AMBA)

Body armour is worn to lessen the likelihood of sustaining a life threatening injury. Such protective solutions are used every day by law enforcement officers around the world, with strict guidelines governing their design and testing. These activities are monitored by government departments such as the Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB) within the United Kingdom (UK), and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) within the United States. Despite providing protection against significant levels of impact energy, a number of historical issues continue to be present with modern fibre-based soft body armour – which once addressed may demonstrate an enhancement wearer operational performance. This paper therefore presents research highlighting such issues, and demonstrates how Additive Manufacturing (AM) technologies, particularly Laser Sintering (LS), could potentially be used to address such operational concerns whilst providing protection against a real-world threat. Results documented within this paper demonstrate that 5.6 mm thick planar samples, Laser Sintered from a 50/50 mix of virgin and recycled PA 2200 successfully achieved penetration resistance to the UK HOSDB KR1 impact energy of 24 joules. These results therefore influenced the design, manufacture, and testing of a series of AM textile samples featuring an imbricated layout, which also demonstrated successful knife penetration resistance to the HOSDB KR1 level – thus developing stab resistant Additive Manufactured Body Armour (AMBA).