Composite Laminate are matrices of different metallic and nonmetallic materials arranged to make the most of each material's strengths. Most composite armor are lighter than their all-metal equivalent, but instead occupy a larger volume for the same resistance to penetration. It is possible to design composite armor stronger, lighter and less voluminous than traditional armor, but the cost is often prohibitively high, restricting its use to especially vulnerable parts of a vehicle.
The most common type of composite sandwiches a layer of ceramic between two plates of steel armour, which was shown to dramatically increase the resistance to high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds. Other versions have glass reinforced plastic sandwiched between inner and outer steel layers. A boron carbide-filled resin aggregate provides greatly improved protection. Ceramic armour is significantly less effective against a kinetic energy penetrator, so sometimes depleted uranium layers are added to provide extra protection against these warheads.
Explosive reactive armour, uses layers of high explosive sandwiched between steel plates. When a shaped-charge warhead hits, the explosive detonates and pushes the steel plates into the warhead, disrupting the flow of the charge's liquid metal penetrator (usually copper at around 500 degrees; it can be made to flow like water by sufficiently immense pressure). It is less effective against kinetic penetrators.
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