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March 13, 2014


From Bullet-Proof to Water-Proof: Body Armor Manufacturer Needs an Upgrade

by LACO Technologies

A US manufacturer of body armor for law enforcement and military markets needed a more effective way to test the integrity of their ballistic packs used in bullet proof vests. The ballistic material must be kept dry in order for it to meet performance expectations. If water is allowed to ingress into the ballistic material, it will degrade and put the user at risk. Their ballistic material is protected in a waterproof heat-sealed envelope or package. In order to verify its integrity, each package must be leak tested.

LACO Body Armor Leak Testing

The manufacturer contacted LACO because its existing leak testing method of submerging their product under water was messy, slow, insensitive, and if a package leaked, the ballistic material had to be discarded. The challenge was to develop a technique to leak test (both gross and fine) for a sealed package. LACO developed a test method called “force decay”.

The process of manufacturing the vests naturally traps some air within them. LACO designed a custom test chamber create internal pressure on the package by evacuating the chamber. The inflated package would create a force against the force gauge. If the package had a gross leak, the package would deflate very quickly or not inflate at all. For smaller leaks the force gauge would measure the pressure loss as the package slowly deflates. By carefully calculating the reduced pressure over time, a leak rate for the product could be established providing the manufacturer a fast, simple, non-destructive way to evaluate each ballistic pack.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jul 31 2014

    These are technical terms i didn’t know about body armor testing and all. Really enjoyed this article, also learned new things which i can share to others. thank you for sharing this.


  2. Jul 31 2014

    Hi Derek, thank you very much for reading our article and your kind comments. We are glad that you were able to learn a few things from this. Please subscribe to our blog if you’d like or you can subscribe to our email newsletter where we often share our latest blog articles. The subscription link is found here:

    Thanks again!



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