In the everyday outfit of an American soldier, batteries for various devices are more than 8 kg, another 9 kg are for body armor. To reduce the load, Oak Ridge National Laboratory specialists, led by Gabriel Veit, decided to create an unusual hybrid body armor in which the batteries themselves become armor. It consists of flat batteries covered with armor plates.
Several prototypes of battery packs with a small amount of silica have already been created. The integrated nanoparticles do not affect the liquid electrolyte of the battery until the moment of a sharp mechanical impact, for example, a bullet hit. On impact, the silica and electrolyte instantly solidify and the bullet stops moving.
So far, Veit and his colleagues have proven that this only works for small batteries, unable to cover all the parts of the body that body armor usually protects. In addition, the armored batteries themselves are still far from perfect: if a bullet hits the "wrong" place, they can leak and even explode. But this is just the very beginning of the project.
The goal of the developers is to create durable, reliable, rechargeable batteries with the ability to recharge, which do not have to be thrown away and pollute the environment with toxic waste.