Composite metal foam (CMF) is not what you find in packaging, but instead formed from hollow beads of one metal within a solid matrix of another, such as steel within aluminum, and boasts a 5-6 times greater strength to density ratio as well as more than 7 times greater energy absorption than previous metal foams. A single plate less than one inch thick has enough resistance to turn a .30-06 Springfield standard-issue M2 armor piercing bullet to dust. Read more to see it easily withstand a .50-caliber bullet.
Practical applications include nuclear waste (shielding X-rays, gamma rays and neutron radiation) and insulation for space vehicle atmospheric re-entry. CMF can also replace rolled steel armor with the same protection for one-third the weight, blocking fragments and the shockwaves that are responsible for brain injuries. Stainless steel CMF can withstand blast pressure and fragmentation at 5,000 feet per second from high explosive incendiary (HEI) rounds that detonate 18 inches from the shield.