Lightweight and strong: ballistic panels protect cars, ships, airplanes

Wars, terror, piracy: In a troubled world, people want to protect themselves. The first armor made of fiber composite dates back to antiquity. Back then, several layers of linen were joined with glue to form a stiff fabric laminate that fighters wore around their bodies. Even Alexander the Great protected himself with such a linothorax.

Nowadays, ballistic plates help protect against all kinds of projectiles. They consist of materials such as aramids and high-performance polyethylenes. Together with glass, ceramic and metal fibers made of aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, boron carbide, aluminum and armor steel, they are heated in composite presses from Wickert and formed into fiber composite plates.

This is done by specialist companies that produce ballistic panels tailored to specific applications. These include sensitive areas on warships, container ships and military trucks as well as the bodies of luxury limousines and the outer skins of helicopters. The linings are designed to provide the greatest possible protection against bullets, explosive, fragmentation and ricochet projectiles, while at the same time being very lightweight.