Body Armour
body armour
Image from Bernd Helfert

Body armour developed early as protective suits made of such materials as leather, shells, wood, and basketwork, later supplemented by metal and synthetic materials.

Armour was made specifically for war, was often very costly, and could be an index of social status (e.g. Greek hoplite, Japanese samurai, European nobleman/knight). With the rise of science increased mobility and firearms made personal armour obsolete, although the atomic and information age saw its re-introduction in composite materials, such as kevlar, arachnoweave, and tetracarbon, for soldiers, police, and even civilians. The ultimate development was the powered exoskeleton, and as these exoskeletons became more intelligent their developed the combat mecha. The other extreme saw various forms of nanoskin, intelligent and reactive micro- and nano-armour, tending towards lightness and stealth rather than bulk. Body-modification and cyborgisation has also meant that armour can be made integral to the overall body, rather than something to be put on and taken off.
Related Articles
  • Ablative Armour - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Any armour that protects against beam or HE weapons by ablating, or vapourizing, as it is hit, dissipating the destructive effect of the weapon. Because ablative armour is soon eroded it is not much use in a sustained firefight. Includes soft, hard, laminated, reactive, and smart ablatives.
  • Armour - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    [1] A defensive covering, as of adamant, arachnoweave, kevlar, metal, wood, or leather, worn to protect the body against weapons (see also Body Armour).
    [2] A tough, protective covering, such as the chitinous exoskeleton or carapace or bony scales covering certain animals, dermoplasts and armoplasts of certain neogens, or the metallic plates on tanks or warships or shielding or laminated passive or active armour of a fighter or a starship.
    [3] The combat arm that deploys armoured vehicles, such as tanks or Mecha, or the individual units and armoured vehicles.
    [4] A blue or khaki goo shield.
  • Carapace Armor
  • Marrowbone Armor
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 08 October 2001.