DuPont has state-of-the-art ballistic testing facilities in Richmond, Virginia, and Geneva, Switzerland, which are used to support personal body armor, helmet,and vehicle armor and tactical plate developments worldwide. We maintain an extensive testing database that goes back many years and builds on a 40-year history in ballistic protection. Long before we determine that a new fiber or ballistic protection material is ready for use in armor applications, we conduct extensive ballistic testing and check our findings against our knowledge base to confirm it meets the demanding industry standards of this critical application.
While DuPont does not certify body, helmets, or vehicle armor, the ballistic labs are used to help customers and other value chain members to develop their new armor products designed to counter specific threats. Our strong science foundation, combined with a wealth of experience and data gained from the DuPont Ballistics Labs, has established DuPont as a valued resource in ballistic protection technology for the armor industry.
Extensive experience, exhaustive methodology
Our DuPont state-of-the-art ballistic testing laboratories are designed to give our research scientists, engineers, customers, and end users a valuable tool for assessing the reliability of body armor, helmets, or vehicle armor. One tool at our exclusive disposal is our extensive experience testing Kevlar® and armor systems — over 30 years of it. We also have sophisticated data analysis tools to help ensure results are interpreted correctly, taking into account the many factors that create uncertainty in determining ballistic protection performance and safety margins.
DuPont’s Ballistic Labs can perform many of the tests that are done at other ballistic labs. These labs are equipped to shoot ammunition from .22 caliber up to .50 caliber. The most common test performed is a V50 evaluation. V50 is the velocity at which there is a 50% probability the target will be penetrated by the projectile. To supplement the standard testing, our high-speed video provides a vivid, immediately comprehensible depiction of how a given Kevlar® design will behave when hit by varying types of rounds fired at varying velocities. In the high-stakes world of protecting people from ballistic threats, reducing uncertainty with sound science is critical to ensure adequate designs that eliminate the potential for failure.
Military ballistic testing
In the ongoing drive for lighter body armor that can defend against threats in combat, DuPont engineers subject new fibers, materials, and armor structures to a number of tests to determine how they perform against the specified threats.
Law enforcement testing
As the weapons used on the street have become more powerful, testing conducted at the DuPont Ballistic Labs have helped manufacturers as they develop ballistic vests that are tough enough to withstand rounds fired from a .44 Magnum, and light enough for law enforcement personnel to wear throughout a full shift.
DuPont Technology — it’s more than just a ballistics lab
DuPont is a global science and technology company with a rich history of innovations in chemistry and material science. We have over 4400 scientists and engineers globally, with a broad array of expertise, and the advanced laboratory facilities and staff to support them.
With the help of DuPont Engineering and Research Technologies (DuET) and the Corporate Center for Analytical Science (CCAS), DuPont conducts research to elucidate mechanisms that control penetration and back face deflection in a ballistic event. A wide range of experiments are done utilizing sophisticated testing and analytical capabilities to better characterize materials and the material systems used in the development of soft body armor. Examples of the special capabilities we have include:
DuPont brings expertise and an understanding of the science of energy dissipation. The knowledge we gain can help body armor manufacturers as they develop new products and system concepts that can be used to help improve protective gear for those who protect us all.