Engineers design origami shield to stop bullets

21 February 2017

Engineers have devised a shield capable of stopping bullets fired by handguns and revolvers, including a 9mm, a .357 Magnum and a .44 Magnum.

The shield is collapsible and can be folded up like an umbrella, making it easy to carry around and only takes five seconds to be deployed.

Larry Howell, a professor of mechanical engineering at Brigham Young University (BYU) who headed the design, said, ''We worked with a federal special agent to understand what their needs were, as well as SWAT teams, police officers and law enforcement, and found that the current solutions are often too heavy and not as portable as they would like,'' UPI reported.

Most of the shields and barriers in use by law enforcement were legacy designs made of heavy steel. They were also large, flat and difficult to transport, and some weighed as much as 100 pounds. This new model weighed made of 12 layers of bulletproof Kevlar weighed only 55 pounds. It was designed using a common origami creasing pattern, so that it folded into a more manageable size.

The design had also come off well in tests and had proved remarkably durable. Howell said, ''We suspected that something as large as a .44 Magnum would actually tip it over, but that didn't happen. The barrier is very stable, even with large bullets hitting it.''

The barrier prototypes are meant to be extremely stiff and protective throughout, while also maintaining the flexible qualities of Kevlar fabric so that they could be folded compactly.

"It goes from a very compact state that you can carry around in the trunk of a car to something you can take with you, open up and take cover behind to be safe from bullets," said Terri Bateman, BYU adjunct professor of engineering and research team member, reported. "Then you can easily fold it up and move it if you need to advance your position."

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