The chain meshes the PROCHAIN-project is focused onto were already used in the times of the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages. Specialised craftsman produced shirts, hoods, gloves and other clothing which were used to protect from stab wounds and gashes. The manufacturing of such chain meshes was very expensive: At first, a wire was produced by heating up iron and by pulling it through openings getting closer. Afterwards the wire was cut into pieces which were further eye shaped. The single eyes were chained together and closed to rings. To increase the strength of the so formed mesh, the eye's ends were welded or riveted. Normally, a pattern of 1:4 or, sometimes, a pattern of 1:6 was produced. That means that each ring is connected to four or six adjacent rings. Here and there also patterns of 1:8 and 2:8 were produced, the last one known under the name "Kings Mail". Apart from Europe, there were chain meshes in Asia and Persia. These meshes are highly complicated and are not machine-produceable. During the ages, the manufacturing of these chain meshes implied an enormous amount of manpower and time. This made the material very valuable, hence it was only achievable by rich knights and noblemen. Nowadays, chain meshes (mostly the pattern 1:4) are producable by machines. Currently, their use is nearly limited to the food industry.
The intention of PROCHAIN is to investigate the ancient material in a scientific way and to bring it into a new development. The results are modern compount materials and chain protection systems that are characterised by a high rate of energy absorbtion, a light weight and great variety.
ABOUT PROCHAIN development

Development work on chain systems incorporates basic research as well as design, analysis and testing of chain components. Basic research is concentrated on development of analysis tools, which allow design of chain system components. The basis of all analytical methods to evaluate the deformation behaviour of chain meshes is represented by their mechanical properties in the macro-level:
	•  Young's Modulus
	•  Poison's Ratio
	•  Yield and Ultimate Strength
	•  Yield and Ultimate Strain
	•  Behaviour under Impact

These properties can vary significantly from the micro-mechanical properties of the basic wire material. Since the analytical approach for chain meshes is currently not fully developed, evaluation of makro-mechanical properties needs to be done by measurements. Tensile test are to be performed using a standard tensile test machine. Deflections are to be measured using laser-optical techniques. To evaluate deflections and deformations, a laser-optical measurement system (ESPI - Electronic Speckle Pattern Inferometry) is used. Documentation of impact and bombardment tests high-speed cameras are used. Due to this the deformation during projectile penetration as well as the splinter fragmentation can be visualised and analysed. top

As shown by test, chain systems are characterised by the large amount of energy absorbtion. The impact energy is absorbed by distorsion of the chain rings.In cooperation with FH Ingolstadt and industrial partners, possible applications were identified were no satisfying protective system is available. In different projects concepts and solutions are developed for these applications.

•  catch nets for Ski Down Hill Racing and 
   Formula One Crash Protection 

•  protective clothing

•  armour of vehicles

•  savety capsule

•  architecture, design and booth stand arrangement

•  ship building (freighter collision protection)

•  trains

•  aeronautics (engine safety)

•  vessel protection

•  military usage

... and more

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