|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
Rheological ammunition uses a rheological substance that can be controlled by injecting a current or introducing a magnetic field to the projectiles core, thereby changing some properties of the projectile. The idea is to create a projectile with a core that can be hard or soft depending on adjustable settings on the weapon. Or development of special purpose ammunition.
Possible scenarios and use
The optimal goal is to create a projectile that can be electronically controlled and used in a wide range of situations. Mainly, military and law enforcements scenarios. A soldier can fire live and less lethal ammunitions from the same magazine by choosing weapon settings. A police officer may fire a less lethal projectile and seconds later fire an armour piercing projectile. All from the same magazine loaded with identical rheological ‘bullets’.
Scenario with Rheological small arms calibre ammunition
A Rheological projectile (bullet) is supported by a magnetic sabot. The magnetic sabot controls the core properties. As long as the sabot remains in place the core is firm and support the jacket. The projectile will penetrate target without deformation.
Below: A projectile with a magnetic sabot is penetrating an armoured target. After the initial penetration (A) the magnetic sabot is discarded (B) and the projectile core is changing from hard to soft allowing deformation of the projectile (C). After the deformation the projectile have similarity with hollow point ammunition both in deformation and wound ballistics.
Applications range from "entry" ammunition allowing penetration of doors, armours etc. without risking over penetration and the safety of third party.
Some few patents exists (like US. patent 6553.913 B1 from 2003) but no commercial available projectile will be available for some time to come.
It will probably first be made available for large calibre riot-guns. Where the large calibre makes it possible to make room for electronics and the battery. But later they will find their way into small calibre firearms. As the inner-ballistics will change between the projectiles fired (Depending on the properties that the projectiles acquired during the reloading process). The obvious choice is to use a firearm with a Rheological fluids based firearms mechanisms that can adopt accordingly in a split of a second.