The next generation of US tanks can get armor from steel foam

Research by researchers at the University of North Carolina and the US Army Applied Aeronautics Administration found that composite metal foam provides more protection than conventional steel plate while being one-third lighter. This discovery will allow the creation of lighter and more secure armored vehicles capable of withstanding kinetic weapons, shockwaves and high temperatures.

"Metallic foam" is a metal with spongy holes (CMF), which makes it lighter than metal, and allows some of the energy to absorb the impact energy when it hits the ammunition.

CMF effectively reflects shockwave. According to scientists, in the event of a direct hit or explosion in the immediate vicinity, its energy is dissipated upon contact with hollow spheres in the armor. The shock wave deforms them, and the armor absorbs its energy, as it were.

CMF is a heat-resistant material. In tests conducted in 2016, researchers found that it took twice as much heat to pass through a 3-inch (7.62 cm) CMF plate as stainless steel. Cheese cavities create air pockets that slow down the transfer of heat energy. In the course of hostilities, this can slow down the thermal effects of the explosion and allow the crew to leave the damaged vehicle.