Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
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A team of researchers looking at new light-weight, low-cost, environmentally friendly ceramic body armour has won a prestigious Venture Prize from the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers.

The body armour, which received funding from the Ministry of Defence, was developed by Dr Hywel Jones at Sheffield Hallam University's Materials and Engineering Research Institute (MERI) and Dr Anthony Pick, a ceramic consultant from Barnsley.

They scooped the £25,000 award for ongoing development of the armour. The funds will be used to develop a pilot manufacturing facility in South Yorkshire, before a full production facility is launched using a novel furnace design.

The early development work has been funded by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE).

Head of CDE, Dr Helen Almey said: ““I am delighted to congratulate Hywel Jones and Anthony Pick of Sheffield Hallam University and KeramTech on this prestigious prize. This is another great example of how the Centre for Defence Enterprise supports innovative ideas from UK scientists and technologists to help keep our Armed Forces equipped with the best capabilities to operate effectively and safely.”

The new material is made using a combination of several ceramic systems, a carbide, anitride and a number of oxides, forming a novel, strong, hard but light ceramic composite.

It combines the advantages of lower weight, lower cost of production and the ability to be made in different sizes and shapes - while still having the ballistic performance required by the armed forces.

Prototype armour components made from the material are currently undergoing full ballistic trials at the Ministry of Defence.

Notes to Editors:

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) maximises the impact of science and technology (S&T) for the defence and security of the UK.

It supplies sensitive and specialist S&T services for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and wider government, saving lives in the UK, overseas and on the frontline.

Dstl leads and undertakes those activities that it would be inappropriate to lead or carry out in the private sector and undertakes those activities that must be done in government to sustain government's ability to be an intelligent customer and build productive relationships with the wider science and technology community.

Dstl acts as a trusted interface between MOD, wider government, the private sector, academia and allies to deliver battle-winning technologies.

Dstl is a trading fund of the MOD and is accountable to government, to the taxpayer and the troops it supports in the field every day.

Dstl is the largest scientific organisation within government, with around 3,500 of the nation’s most talented and creative scientists, technologists and engineers.

The Armourers and Brasiers Company is a leading supporter of material science education and research in the UK. Its Venture Prize is aimed at helping scientists commercialise the early stage research and the exploitation of new and exciting ideas. The Company also seeks to encourage education in science from primary to postdoctoral levels and has close connections with schools and colleges throughout the UK. See for further information

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