Long story short: the setting is something like Highlander meets The Road or I Am Legend – basically a vast majority of humanity dies VERY suddenly such that vast quantities of regular items are available in hardware / department stores untouched. There is no internet, no power, no running water, etc.
I have a character that is building an armor suit based on the idea of composite plates. There is a lack of time to make proper ring mail or plate mail. My thought is that if stainless steel mesh is embedded in some sort of ABS or poly resin this would be tougher than just going with tire armor (the de facto in this setting). Obviously there is enough clothing around to layer for the effect of a gambeson to help with the blunt force of impacts.
My research so far has said that tire armor works because the rubber / steel mesh provides enough friction to slow piercing & slashing while still insulating against concussive blows. I've seen youtube videos of people testing out modern swords against duct tape armor that faired well. Steel wire reinforced tubing has also been suggested, as has adding in a layer of thin steel, say from a hose connector for HVAC, which is set inside of the resin or whatever material to give it more strength. Ideally this can be made in a day but bonus points if through some quick drying hand-waving it can be made in an hour or three.
Something like a brigandine made of salvaged steels appears to be always beat out this composite concept except for the case of piercing spear strikes (IMHO).
Ultimately whatever armor it is should resist (in this order):
- Piercing thrusts (spears, estocs, rondels, etc.)
- Bludgeoning blows (improvised clubs a plenty)
- Combination piercing / bludgeoning (a club with spikes coming out of it)
- Slashing (sharpened high carbon steel)
- Arrows, crossbows, harpoon guns, slingshots, or improvised handheld projectile weapons
- Small arms fire
- Rifles, etc.
Some additional points:
- Weight is a major factor story-wise.
- Noise / ability to move silently is also a major factor for this character.
- The majority of the combat takes place in apartment buildings or other relatively tight quarters. A Manhattan or European city block (littered with car husks) is about an open a field as we see.
- There is a story reason that guns / projectiles are not as widely used.
- There might be a enough thick leather that could be coated in some other material (the same material?) to make a patent leather style armor. Open to ideas here too.
The actual question: what is going to be the best option for embedding the steel mesh inside to make the armored plates? I've also considered spray truck liner (though this is HIGHLY flammable). For the purpose of this I would prefer to hand wave the finding of the perfect material than the physics of how the armor would work.