The UK Ministry of Defence's in-house Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the University of Cambridge and QinetiQ have developed the "best armoured steel ever made".
Super Bainite is derived from first principles using thermodynamic modelling techniques, Dstl scientist Peter Brown says.
Scientists achieved ultra-high levels of hardness without using expensive alloying additions through the use of low temperature mechanism isothermal hardening.
"Due to the unique process by which we have developed this new armour, Super Bainite is able to match the ballistic performance of the very best off-shore armour steels for a fraction of the costs," Brown says.
Super Bainite armour plates are undergoing ballistic testing.
By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh