Durasheet is a highly resistant composite material made of several interwoven layers of polymer, metal and ceramic. Highly resistant to tears and punctures, Durasheet uses a high strength steel alloy fiber network (usually Flexite and one or two other alloys depending on its intended use) within a semi-flexible ballistic polymer matrix, often the supple Armorplast II-D. The finished product is approximately one millimeter thick and can be formed into almost any shape.
When used as armor several Durasheets are necessary along with layers of other materials to form a complete defense against many types of attacks. The outermost layer of armor, typically half a millimeter thick and using an anti-corrosive metal alloy or ceramic glazing, is designed to shatter or vaporize upon impact and partially absorb part of the attack. The second layer is a rigid ceramic designed to cause projectiles to shatter or tumble and so loose energy. The third is a polymer foam which both absorbs projectiles and vaporizes to diffuse energy blasts, followed by a layer of Durasheet itself as a backstop. Depending on the intended thickness of the armor plate the layers of polymer and Durasheet will repeat in an alternating fashion as necessary. The final layer is an anti-spalling ballistic polymer to catch any fragments.
The final product provides some of the best protection available in the 62nd century. A given width of Durasheet armor is five times as resistant to armor penetration while weighing a hundredth of the weight of even the best molecular armor steel.
A comparison of the defensive properties of Heavy Gear armor to real-world armor can be derived based on a given unit's Armor Rating, which represents the thickness and angle of its armor plating plus the general resistance of its internal components to damage. Taking the square of a unit's Armor Rating translates very roughly into its equivalent in millimeters of rolled homogenous armor and vice versa. For example, a T-72 tank is considered to have an Armor Rating of 16, the same as a Jaguar Heavy Gear.