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Chemist Invents Bulletproof Paint From Rice Husks

May 23, 2013 03:00 PM EDT

Rice flour, rice wine and rice milk are all common interpretations of the staple grain, but a Vietnamese chemist has developed a novel use for rice plant won't fill bellies, but just might save lives.

Chemist Hoe Thi Nguyen claims she has developed a bulletproof paint with rice husks that will allow for thinner and lighter bulletproof vests.

According to a report from Than Nien News, Nguyen tested her bulletproof paint on a firing range, where a bullet shot from 2 meters (6.5 feet) away was "obstructed" by a vest coated with six layers of the rice husk paint. Nguyen said common bulletproof vests have 20-40 layers of paint.

Rice husks, or rice hulls, are the protective outer casings of rice. Innovators have long been searching for novel ways to make use of rice husks, coming up such applications as a material that can be used as thermal building insulation, a brewing agent for beer, a pillow stuffing and several others.

Nguyen is the head of Kova Paint Corporation, and when she introduced the bulletproof rice husk paint at an international conference in Ho Chi Minh City, she also introduced the company's flame-resistant, bacteria resistant and rustproof paints.

The flame-resistant paint can protect wood, steel and concrete surfaces for 2-6 hours under fire of up to 1,000 degrees Celsius, the rustproof paint can keep rust at bay for 10 years and the antibacterial paint can destroy up to 99 percent of bacteria on the painted surface, Nguyen told Than Nien News.

Nguyen said she is attempting to register the news paints for U.S. patents and is shopping the bulletproof paint to protective vest makers around the world.

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