Military makes stronger Humvee from balsa wood and foam

TPI Composites has built a Hummer for the Army that is made of composite materials. The Hummer loses 900 pounds of metal body panels and parts, which are then replaced with parts fabricated of fiberglass, balsa wood, foam, and carbon, with resin as a bonding agent.

That 900 pounds is then put back in the vehicle in the form of extra armor where the truck most needs it: in areas that will protect it from roadside bombs. The composite truck has some quirks -- like a body that feels like sandpaper, and the fact that the fenders bend and some other panels are pliable. Yet even though it weighs the same as a traditional Humvee, the point is that it's better built to withstand the threat that kills more soldiers than any other.

AM General and the Army spent 18 months doing R&D on the vehicle. No tests have been carried out yet and the Army hasn't committed to buying any. But if substituting metal for composites and additional armor is shown to save lives, then the vehicle -- which costs more than a standard Humvee -- could make a lot of friends in dangerous places.

[Source: Gizmodo]

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