Can Carbon Fiber Stop A Bullet? Here’s An Easy Understanding!

Can Carbon Fiber Stop A Bullet

Among the many materials that people have used over time as bulletproof vests, carbon fiber is one of them. But can carbon fiber stop a bullet from going deeper or closer to your body once the bullet has been shot? 

The answer is yes. Any kind of vest or armor made from carbon fiber can definitely stop a bullet from getting to your body and injuring you. We will try to understand the factors revolving around carbon fiber bulletproof vests.

Can Carbon Fiber Stop A Bullet 

There are many factors to be taken into consideration when you want to understand if carbon fiber can stop a bullet. Some of these factors are given below:

Strength Of Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is sometimes also called Graphite fiber. It is slowly being proven that carbon fiber is most likely stronger than steel. One day carbon fiber could definitely replace steel. 

Instead of wearing vests made of steel panels, people would start to increase their usage of carbon fiber bulletproof vests. Carbon fiber is not only stronger than steel; it is also lighter.

When you are out there in a war zone or just working your regular duty as a police officer on the field, you will need to make sure you are well prepared. Only food, water, shelter, and weapons are not the only things you should have. 

Some kind of armor to protect your body with is also very important. For protection, carbon fiber bulletproof vests might be good to use at that time. This is because carbon fiber is very durable and also very rugged as a material and is capable of stopping bullets shot at you.

Carbon Fiber Materials

Carbon fiber originally comes from a material known as Precursor. Ninety percent of the carbon fibers are created from polyacrylonitrile, while the leftover ten percent is just petroleum pitch or rayon. 

These materials are all organic polymers. To create the carbon fiber, some liquid or gas materials are also required. They need to react with the fibers to create the actual carbon fiber material. The fibers need to burn with the help of oxygen to perform the carbonization process.

Later on, the carbon fibers are treated so that they bond together to create a harder surface and body. They then need to be coated with materials like epoxy, urethane, nylon, polyester, etc. After this, the fibers can be spun into yarns. The making of carbon fibers shows how much effort goes into it to make it very strong.

Use Of Fiber Glass And Carbon Nanotubes For Carbon Fiber Vests

Fiberglass is also known as bullet-resistant glass. This is a kind of material that has hybrid components that consist of some cloth mesh matrix. The cloth is soaked in liquid resin and then pressed and baked to form its structure. 

They are commonly used as knee pads or helmets, among safety wear. Bullet-resistant fiberglass that includes carbon nanotubes is actually very difficult to weave out. 

This is because the nanotubes are way longer than they should be compared to the width of the nanotubes. Not to mention you also have to layer on more of the carbon nanotubes since just adding single nanotubes will make the fiberglass very weak and not of good quality.

When bulletproof vests are made of these carbon nanotubes, the vests will offer a lot of elasticity and are also very strong. The bullets will bounce right off the nanotubes. This helps reduce pressure one feels on their body through the pressure on the vest after a bullet has been shot. 

Such carbon fiber vests absorb a lot of energy and are also way more long-lasting compared to other materials that could be used for bulletproof vests. This kind of carbon fiber vest is also very cost-effective enough to be used by law enforcers or the military all over the world.

Thickness Of The Carbon Fiber

Since the raw carbon fiber material is made from filaments, they have to be bundled into spools. The spools of fibers are then winded or woven into the carbon fiber fabric that we get. 3k carbon fiber consists of 3000 filaments per strand, while 12k carbon fiber consists of 12,000 filaments per strand. 

That is how the thickness of carbon fiber is discussed in the industry. And it is obvious that the thickness of 12k carbon fiber is thicker and harder than 3k carbon fiber. But of course, the cost increases with the number of filaments included. But a 3k carbon fiber bulletproof suit can still stop the bullet from reaching your skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How thick does carbon fiber have to be to work as bulletproof body armor?

The necessary thickness of carbon fiber needs to be to work successfully bulletproof body armor depends on the kind of bullet that is being shot at the person. To stop a 9-millimeter bullet, at least half an inch thickness of carbon fiber sheets are required.

2. Why haven’t Carbon Nanotube body armor become popular?

Body armor made of carbon nanotubes is very strong since there are multiple layers, and they are very flexible and woven tightly together. 

But the reason it has not become that popular is that the making of this kind of body armor or bulletproof vest is very difficult and takes time, so people do not want to wait that long.

3. Why don’t soldiers protect their entire body with body armor?

Soldiers need to be able to move around flexibly. Plus, they also have to carry lots of weight on them from one place to another, along with their heavy arms or weapons. 

They do need to have safety helmets and bulletproof vests, but it is not possible for them to cover up their whole body with body armor since it will restrict their fluid movements.

4.Would a carbon fiber + kevlar hybrid panel be able to block a bullet?

A Carbon fiber bulletproof vest of half an inch or a Kevlar bulletproof vest of 2 inches usually is enough to block a bullet. But if one had to mix up the two materials, then they would have to calculate all over again how the proportions would have to work as a hybrid panel. But it is still possible.

5. Can carbon fiber be used for body armor?

Carbon fiber material can definitely be used in the making of body armor or bulletproof vests. 

This is because carbon fiber itself is very rigid and stiff compared to other materials. That helps prevent pressure pain from the impact of a gunshot one would feel. It is also very light in weight, so which makes it easier for the person to move around and be flexible.

6. Can carbon fiber be used for bulletproof vests?

Carbon fiber can definitely be used for bulletproof vests. They offer strong layers for protection and lock the bullet into some layers to prevent it from going deeper into the vest. This protects the person from having pressure pain from the impact of a gunshot.

7. Is carbon fiber bulletproof?

Carbon fiber is definitely bulletproof material and is used vastly to manufacture bulletproof vests for law enforcers or soldiers. It may not be as strong as Kevlar, but it is still lighter and more practical to use to stop the bullet from getting in too deep. At least this material has longer-lasting traits.

Conclusion

Carbon fiber body armor or bulletproof vests are pretty common to use. But can carbon fiber stop a bullet? 

Yes, it can, and the method is very similar to how Kevlar or Graphene can stop bullets. There are some differences in the materials, but most of them do the same job as body armor and can protect you from not only bullet wounds but also from the pressure during gunshot impact.