How we innovate ballistics research to improve human protection

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There is a growing threat of terrorist attacks on Western society. Troops deployed in crisis areas actually face such dangers on a daily basis. So whether we are talking about our own backyard or about far away places – there is a growing need for smart and, above all, affordable safety solutions.

The manufacturers of protective clothing and armour materials are always looking for ways to improve the safety that their products provide. The better they understand the dynamic behaviour of the materials used in helmets, for example, the more successful they will be in this endeavour. The top priority is to find out exactly what reactions and deformations occur as a bullet or grenade fragment impacts the protective material.

Innovative, affordable solutions

TNO develops innovative, affordable solutions to protect professional soldiers, police officers, and emergency service workers. In the interests of prosperity and well-being, it is essential for society to be safe, and to feel safe. Yet there is a growing threat, as a result of wars in the Middle East and in Eastern Ukraine, and safety is in a transitional phase. In that world, protection and safety are increasingly complex concepts – both national and international, digital and physical, perceived and actual.

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Laboratory for Ballistics Research

In the Laboratory for Ballistics Research, TNO experts have been working to increase safety for many decades. There, they use a target bunker to test the effects of firearms, ammunition and explosives, and how these interact with protective materials. TNO also has three indoor firing ranges, where experts test small-calibre projectiles and weapon systems. They record the results of their experiments using high-quality instruments of unprecedented accuracy.

One million frames per second

The High-Speed X-ray (HSX) is the laboratory’s latest landmark achievement. The HSX combines images from a high-speed camera and an X-ray machine, at speeds of up to one million frames per second, to record how projectiles penetrate protective clothing, or helmets. The volume and accuracy of the information contained in these combined images are greater than ever before. An older system that is still in routine use requires a hundred test shots, now you just need one. As a result, manufacturers can improve their products – and the safety of the heroic men and women that use them – more effectively and more quickly.

Would you like to know more about the HSX? Then read the article entiteld 'HSX: better protection, greater safety', or watch the animated video clip below.

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Get in touch

Get in touch with Boy Kodde to find out what TNO can do for you

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  • Defence, Safety & Security