Korean researchers have developed a technology that can mass produce lighter, thinner and more efficient body armor. The new armor can stop bullets from a .44 Magnum, known as a monster gun, and is expected to improve the Korean military`s competitiveness and combat power.

A team led by research fellow Yoo Eui-sang at the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology said Wednesday that it developed a nanotechnology-converged light body armor after three years of research and development.

Existing body armor is made of strong threads such as Kevlar and aramid fiber and can block bullets, but is stiff and heavy. The new model is made by mixing the material shear thickening fluid with a cloth. The material is smooth but when shocked suddenly, it hardens to block bullets. The armor weighs 2 kilograms, and its weight and volume are 15 percent less than those of existing armor.

Foreign competitors have developed body armor made of shear thickening fluid, but few have succeeded in their commercialization. The Korean research team processed a cheaper material called fumed silica through nanotechnology, reducing the cost of raw materials by one-10th but maintaining high bulletproof performance. Yoo said, “Our body armor has the best performance among ones made of cloth. It has received the `IIIA` bulletproof grade from the U.S. Office of Justice Programs.” The grade means an armor can block bullets from a .44 Magnum. The research team will transfer the technology to Welcron, Korea`s national defense company, for commercialization.