What are RMA plates made of?

Answered by Robert Dupre

RMA plates, specifically the model 1155 Level 4 body armor plates and 6×6 side plates, are made from an alumina-oxide ceramic material. This specific type of ceramic is chosen for its excellent ballistic performance and durability.

Alumina-oxide ceramic is a type of advanced ceramic material that is composed primarily of aluminum oxide (Al2O3). It is known for its exceptional hardness and toughness, making it an ideal choice for body armor applications. The ceramic material is manufactured through a process called sintering, which involves compacting the powdered alumina-oxide and then subjecting it to high temperatures to form a solid, dense structure.

One of the key advantages of alumina-oxide ceramic is its ability to effectively stop high-velocity projectiles. When a bullet strikes the ceramic strike face of the plate, the energy is dispersed and absorbed by the ceramic material, causing it to fracture and deform. This process helps to dissipate the energy and significantly reduce the threat of injury to the wearer.

While alumina-oxide ceramic is an excellent choice for level 4 body armor plates, there are other ceramic materials available that offer different advantages. Silicon-carbide ceramic and boron-carbide ceramic, for example, are two alternatives that are lighter in weight but also more expensive.

Silicon-carbide ceramic is known for its exceptional hardness and light weight. It offers improved multi-hit capability and can provide enhanced protection against certain types of ammunition. However, its higher cost may make it less accessible for some users.

Boron-carbide ceramic is another lightweight option that offers excellent hardness and ballistic performance. It is often used in specialized armor plates where weight reduction is a critical factor, such as for military personnel operating in challenging environments. However, like silicon-carbide ceramic, boron-carbide ceramic is more expensive than alumina-oxide ceramic.

RMA plates are made from an alumina-oxide ceramic material due to its excellent ballistic performance and durability. While silicon-carbide ceramic and boron-carbide ceramic offer advantages such as lighter weight, they are also more expensive. The choice of ceramic material depends on the specific requirements and priorities of the user.