Early in the development of kinetic barrier technology, engineers found themselves stymied by an inability to project kinetic barriers. While they could create them, they were limited to doing so along the plane of a conductor. While fringe emission lobes did exist along the surface, these were inadequate to provide any protection, being too narrow even at high power levels to provide significant deceleration.
While these problems were eventually solved, they led to a serendipitous discovery when, in testing, the conductor plates were found to be less damaged by incoming gunfire than unpowered control plates. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the dampening effect of an active kinetic barrier field, when interpenetrating existing matter, served to strengthen interatomic and intermolecular bonds without the side-effects that altering electromagnetic forces might have. The net result was that conductive materials imbued with such a field behaved as if they possessed greater material strength, hardness, and toughness.
Such greater resilience to impact, abrasion, and fracture was obviously of great interest to armor manufacture, and schemata for introducing suitable conductive layers into composite armor plating to use this to best effect – along with designs for suitably distributed and redundant field injectors – were pioneered by such companies as Cosmic Defensive Technologies, ICC. The resulting wall-shields became a common component of both maritime and celestime armor, and indeed remain the principal component of underwater maritime armor, in which projected kinetic barriers have a tendency to interfere with good hydrodynamics.
– Armor: The Last Millennium, Sardal Oricalcios