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UBC Okanagan seeks change to firearms bylaw to set up ballistics testing lab

A piece of armourgel, an impact absorbing material UBCO researchers hope to test at an off-campus ballistics lab.
June 22, 2015 - 10:34 AM

KELOWNA - UBC Okanagan and one of its research partners Helios Global Technologies, is looking to set up a ballistics lab in the commercial zone across from Kelowna International Airport.

To that end, they are seeking a revision to the city’s firearms bylaw which would exempt ballistics testing within city limits.

UBCO spokesman Bud Mortensen says one of the first products researchers would test, if construction of the facility is approved, would be Armourgel, developed by researchers in Britain.

“They want to explore some of the applications for this material,” Mortensen says. “Its claim to fame is it takes a high impact and spreads it across a large surface area.”

While most people immediately think of body armour, Mortensen says that’s just one of many potential uses for the product.

“One of the first projects is armourgel’s use in protective helmets for athletes in contact sports,” he says. “It might be body armour or it could be aircraft fuselage or floor plates in vehicles."

Mortensen says that while firearms will be used in some testing, it is not the only method researchers will employ.

“One of the rigs that is part of the lab will accelerate a 30 centimetre disk to 12 metres per second in less than ten milliseconds. That’s pretty fast.”

According to Mortensen, Helios Global Technologies is a local company set up to explore licensing and manufacturing opportunities around the work of UBCO researchers.

He did not have a construction timeline for the facility, but says construction would start very soon after council makes a decision on the firearms bylaw amendment.

Council will consider the amendment at today’s public meeting at 1:30 p.m. at Kelowna City Hall.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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