Thai university develops silk bullet-proof vest

Bangkok, Sep 1 (IANS) A team of university researchers in Thailand has developed the world’s first bullet-proof vest made from natural silk, a media report said on Tuesday.

The vest can withstand .38 and .22 calibre bullets fired from a distance of three metres, Panomkorn Khwakhong, a researcher at Khon Kaen University’s chemical engineering department, said.

The armour, made from silkworm cocoons mixed with a special resin and then hydraulically compressed, is durable and lightweight, the Bangkok Post quoted Panomkorn, a chemical engineering lecturer as saying.

The vests are 14-20 millimetres thick, weigh 2.5-4 kgs, and cost only one-third the price of conventional bullet proof vests, he said. He said silkworm cocoons were used because silkworms are raised and farmed in many areas of Khon Kaen, which has a reputation for quality silk clothing.

Panomkorn said the silk vest is also able to take repeated hits without deteriorating. His team planned to continue developing the vest and make a version that can withstand automatic weapons fire, such as the M16 assault rifles.

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