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What is the difference between the hard plates and the soft plates?

DATE: Dec 31st, 2023
Hard plates and soft plates are two crucial materials in the field of protection, and their differences are evident not only in material selection and characteristics but also in their production processes and application domains. Through a detailed exploration of their manufacturing processes and performance in various applications, we can gain a more comprehensive understanding of the similarities and differences between hard plates and soft plates.
Production Process

I. Production Process of Hard Plates:

Ceramic Hard Plates:
  1. Material Selection: Choose ceramic materials such as aluminum oxide or silicon carbide.
  2. Powder Preparation: Grind ceramic raw materials to form fine powder.
  3. Molding: Under high temperature and pressure, compress the ceramic powder into plate shapes.
  4. Sintering: Subject the molded ceramic plates to high temperatures to increase hardness and density.
  5. Hardening Treatment: Employ specialized processes to enhance the tactical body armor with additional hardness and ballistic resistance.

Steel Hard Plates:
  1. Material Selection: Choose high-strength alloy steel.
  2. Cutting and Shaping: Use cutting equipment to cut steel material, followed by shaping.
  3. Heat Treatment: Adjust the structure of steel by controlling temperature and cooling speed to enhance hardness and strength.
  4. Surface Treatment: Apply coatings such as corrosion-resistant layers to improve ballistic resistance.

Composite Hard Plates:
  1. Material Combination: Layer different materials like ceramics and polymers to form a composite structure.
  2. Hot Pressing: Apply high temperature and pressure to compress different materials tightly.
  3. Shaping and Cutting: Shape the composite into the desired plate and finalize the form through cutting and other processing steps.

II. Production Process of Soft Plates:

Aramid Fiber Plates (e.g., Kevlar):
  1. Aramid Fiber Treatment: Form fabric through spinning or layering aramid fibers.
Impregnation: Immerse aramid fiber fabric in resin to enhance overall strength and ballistic resistance.
  1. Hot Pressing: Apply high temperature and pressure to solidify the resin between aramid fibers, forming a plate.
  2. Cutting and Shaping: Cut and shape the plate to achieve the desired dimensions and shape.

UHMWPE Plates:
  1. UHMWPE Layering: Layer UHMWPE sheets to form a plate-like structure.
  2. Hot Pressing and Shaping: Compress the layered UHMWPE material into the desired plate shape using high temperature and pressure.
  3. Cooling and Solidification: During cooling, maintain the desired structure of UHMWPE to ensure strength and flexibility.

I. Characteristics of Hard Plates:

Ceramic Hard Plates:
  1. Hardness: Extremely high hardness for effective resistance against high-velocity projectiles.
  2. Lightweight: Relatively lightweight compared to other hard ar500 plate carrier, providing better portability.
  3. Brittleness: Despite high hardness, ceramic hard plates can be relatively brittle, potentially experiencing fractures under severe impact.

Steel Hard Plates:
  1. Durability: Excellent durability and strength to resist various forms of attacks.
  2. Weight: Heavier than ceramic hard plates, which may be a consideration in certain applications.
  3. Thermal Conductivity: Good thermal conductivity, possibly leading to a more noticeable heat sensation upon impact.

Composite Hard Plates:
  1. Balanced Performance: Composite hard plates aim to balance lightweight and hardness, offering comprehensive protection against various ballistic threats.
  2. Advantages of Multiple Materials: Utilize the advantages of ceramics and polymers to compensate for each other's shortcomings, achieving overall protection.
  3. Cost-Effectiveness: Relative to single-material hard plates, composite hard plates may offer better cost-effectiveness in certain aspects.

II. Characteristics of Soft Plates:

Aramid Fiber Plates (e.g., Kevlar):
  1. Flexibility: Aramid fiber plates are highly flexible, providing superior comfort and flexibility.
Lightweight: Significantly lighter than hard round riot shield, making them suitable for prolonged wear.
  1. Chemical Resistance: Exhibits good resistance to chemicals, providing stability against various substances.

UHMWPE Plates:
  1. Extreme Strength: UHMWPE plates possess extremely high strength, capable of resisting various forms of attacks.
  2. Lightweight: Achieves an ideal balance between hardness and lightweight, suitable for highly mobile applications.
  3. Abrasion Resistance: Demonstrates good resistance to abrasion, extending the material's lifespan.
Characteristics Advantage in Application Domains

I. Advantages in Application of Hard Plates:
  1. High-Speed Projectile Protection: Ceramic hard plates and steel hard plates excel in providing outstanding protection against high-speed projectiles in military and law enforcement scenarios.
  2. Heavy Equipment Protection: Steel hard plates find applications in military vehicle armor, offering protection against powerful attacks.

II. Advantages in Application of Soft Plates:
  1. Comfortable Wear: Aramid fiber plates and UHMWPE plates are exceptionally lightweight, making them suitable for long-term and comfortable wear.
  2. Covert Protection: Soft plates are suitable for tasks requiring concealment, such as for police officers and undercover personnel.

III. Key Differences:

  1. Protection Requirements:
Hard Plates: Used to counter high-velocity projectiles and heavy attacks, suitable for high-risk environments like military and law enforcement.
Soft Plates: Emphasizes providing comfort and concealment, suitable for scenarios requiring flexibility and daily wear.

  1. Weight and Comfort:
Hard Plates: Relatively heavy, suitable for professional environments and vehicle armor.
Soft Plates: Lightweight and comfortable, ideal for scenarios requiring comfort and prolonged wear.

  1. Flexibility and Mobility:
Hard Plates: Relatively rigid, may affect individual mobility.
Soft Plates: Highly flexible, enabling wearers to perform various movements and activities.