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Advanced Layered Personnel Armor1

by MAJ Ong Choon Wei, Roy2
Abstract: Using shock compression physics and explicit numerical techniques, a method has been developed to design composite personnel armor by optimizing the role each layer plays during projectile defeat. The initial design consists of a very hard first layer to deform and fracture the projectile, an orthotropic second layer to slow down the shock wave propagation in the through-thickness direction, whilst allowing rapid propagation in the transverse directions, a porous third layer to absorb the shock wave energy through PV-work, and a fourth layer to provide confinement for the porous medium. Based on the above armor protection concept, composite plates comprising of Alumina (Al 2O3) Ceramic, Dyneema HB25 and porous Polyurethane (PU) foam were constructed to test against baseline armor in the form of AISI 4140 steel plate. An integral experiment was conducted to validate this composite armor against numerical simulations. Through this study, the composite armor has been shown experimentally to be more effective in resisting penetration than a high strength steel plate of equivalent (and slightly greater) areal density, and that the material layering sequence is fundamentally correct. The results of this research provides a platform to rethink into the way we design armor by breaking down the ballistic impact process into stages, and then designing specific materials to stop projectile penetration. This has the potential for creating very high performance composite armor at a fraction of the weight of current armor solutions. Keywords: Military Technology; Impact Engineering; Personnel Armor; Terminal Ballistics

In the past, armor was typically made of monolithic high strength steels (with yield strengths in excess of 1GPa) to protect against conventional projectile threats. However, the high density of steel makes it undesirable for personnel protection. The need for materials with high yield strength gradually evolved to the use of technical ceramics (Aluminum Oxide, Boron Carbide, Silicon Carbide, Aluminum Nitrates, etc.) which are of very high strength and relatively lightweight. Such materials cause significant plastic deformation in projectiles effectively turning kinetic energy into an increase in internal energy. Even more advanced armor materials make use of layering techniques comprised of composite structures. Examples include Kevlar Fiber-Reinforced Polymers (KFRP), Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymers (CFRP), and Aramid or Polyethylene woven fabric composites. Such evolution of protection technology has had varying success in the defeat of certain classes of projectiles. It is possible that the protection level for these existing technologies may have reached a plateau, with only marginal improvements from each spiral of armor development.

Impetus For Ongoing Research Given the evolving projectile threats, it is important that better armor protection schemes be developed to match up to the challenge of penetration protection. There has been much interest in the development of armor protection using layered construction in recent years, as shown in works by Robbins et al,3 and Gama et al.4 Gupta et al have shown the effectiveness and feasibility of using a wave spreading layer to dissipate the compressive forces of an incoming projectile within microseconds.5 Wilkins et al have shown the effectiveness of ceramics with aluminum backing plates in plastically deforming the projectile, thus defeating it from the onset, preventing extensive damage to the lower layers of armor.6 Wilkins noted that the aluminum backing plate allowed the inevitable failure caused by the arrival of release waves to be held off for a longer time, allowing the ceramic time to cause plastic deformation in the projectile. Porous materials have been known to be a useful shock wave isolator and absorber. Fowles and Curran showed that this was because of the ability of the porous material to support appreciable elastic stress before
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tech edge compaction.7 Herrman has also demonstrated the effectiveness of porous materials and their associated equation of states in absorbing energy due to shock compression causing significant P-V work.8 These are all well-understood and great concepts for armor applications developed independently. However, work has been lacking in combining these concepts into a cohesive armor system.


This steel was chosen as a baseline material because its properties are very well understood, and it is a close match in dynamic properties to steel armor materials used in many armor applications. Figure 1 shows simulation results for a 15mm length, 8mm diameter Tantalum cylinder penetrating completely through a 16mm thick AISI 4340 16mm Steel Plate at an impact velocity of 1000m/s. The same projectile is stopped by a composite plate of the same thickness (16mm). The motivation for this study was thus to investigate a layered concept in armor plate technology based on fundamental shock physics to stop a projectile penetration in a series of stages: Stage 1: Projectile Deformation Using high yield strength, high impedance materials to resist penetration from compressive forces as much as possible causing significant plastic deformation in the projectile. This layer also helps to decrease the impulse delivered into subsequent layers. Stage 2: Wave Spreading Using special orthotropic composites with as high a lateral speed of sound as possible to spread shock waves laterally away from incident axis. This causes significant stress wave attenuation. Stage 3: Energy Absorption Using porous materials to convert kinetic energy into heat and work done in compressing the pores of the material (PV-work)

However, work has been lacking in combining these concepts into a cohesive armor system.
Poh has shown the feasibility of a composite layered construction made up of quite dissimilar materials each with specific properties to aid penetration resistance of the composite plate.9 It consists of a hard first layer to plastically defeat the projectile, and a multiple wave spreading layer to laterally dissipate the compressive shock waves. This is then followed by a porous layer to aid energy absorption. Numerical simulations using the Autodyn hydrodynamic computer code have shown the benefits of having this sequence of layers to arrest the shock propagation from a projectile impact, and it was predicted that this type of construction has the potential to outperform an AISI 4340 armor grade high strength steel plate of equivalent thickness.

Figure 1: Tantalum projectile striking composite target and AISI 4340 steel.


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tech edge Stage 4: Penetration Prevention Final stopping layer to prevent penetration of the projectile with nominal velocity. This layer also serves as containment and provides spall prevention for the porous layer. Figure 2 illustrates the above idea. Research Approach The approach was to first develop material models based on literature research. This was followed by conducting proof of concept experiments using suitable materials for each layer which satisfy the


requirements at each stage to arrest the incoming projectile. The conditions of the experiment (i.e. impact velocity) are then simulated using the numerical model developed so as to make sense of the experimental results. In this paper, the experimental results are presented first, followed by the numerical modeling and simulations.


A test matrix was set up to systematically test the effects of each layer. Our baseline material was AISI 4140 high strength steel, from which our composite plates were tested against and compared to. Table 1 shows this test matrix. Table 2 shows the properties of the projectile used in this experiment while Figure 3 shows a picture of the actual projectile. Live Firing Set Up The live firing experiment was conducted at a helium pressure gun facility at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). With a gas gun pressure of up to 2000 pounds per square inch (psi), the gun has a maximum projectile velocity of about 475 m/s based

Figure 2: Graphical Illustration of New Armor Layering Concept.

Test Matrix
Test Sample 1 2 3 Material Total Thickness Average Density (gm/cm2) Areal (gm/cm2) Density Purpose

AISI 4140 Steel Ceramic + Dyneema HB25 Ceramic + Dyneema HB25 + P1 + AI plate

4.76mm 11mm 17.5mm

7.85 2.52 1.86

3.737 2.771 3.256

Baseline comparison of armor plants Basic composite plate to replace armor steel Full - up Composite Plate

Material Notes: AISI 4140 Steel (S)

All target plates were 100mm x 100mm squares. 4.76mm thick AISI 4140 Steel Plate as a control sample (Desity 7.85gm/cm3) Precision ground in accordance to ASTM A322, Rockwell C30, with a yield strength of 95,000 psi (655 MPa). 6mm thick Corbit 98 alumina ceramic plates from Industrie Botossi were used. Alumina 98% with a Young's Modulus of 384 GPa, and hardness H of 16.3 GPa, and Density of 3.81 gm/cm3 5mm thick Dyneema HB251 from DSM. Density of 0.97 gm/cm3, Fiber Tensile strength of Approximately 2 GPa. 5mm thick Polyurethance, P1 - PR6710 Aircarft Foam (Density 0.16 gm/cm3) 1.5mm Thick Aluminum 6061-T6 as an inertial backing plate to provide confinement for the porous foam. (Density 2.70 gm/cm3) Plates are glued together using low viscosity (500 cps) Angstrom Bond@ AB9110LV. Glued and ambient air-cured over at least 24hrs.

Ceramic (C) Dyneema HB25 (D) P1 A1 Adhesive

Table 1: Test Matrix


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AISI A2 Cylinders were from UCSB, manufactured in-house
Specification/Shape AISI A2/Cylinder Dimension 25.4mm, 7.49mm diameter Density (gm/cm3) 7.75 Mass (gm) 8.70 Hardness RHC - 55-56 Yield Strength 1.8 GPa


Table 2: Properties of steel projectile used.

Figure 3: A2 Tool Steel Cylinder projectile that was used in the experiment.

on the mass of 25.4mm long steel cylinders of 7.49mm diameter. Figures 4 and 5 illustrate the experimental set up. A high speed camera, an IMACON Model 200, captures images at up to 200 million frames per second (fps). Through imaging software, the velocity of the projectile can be estimated to within 1% accuracy.

Live Firing Results Table 3 summarizes the results of experiments using the test samples shown. AISI 4140 Armor Steel It can be seen that a rough estimation of the Kinetic Energy (KE) necessary to penetrate the AISI

Figure 4: Schematic of Gas Gun Facility.

Figure 5: Schematic of how the targets for the experiment were set up. A 50mm x 50mm square area was exposed to the incoming projectile while the 100mm x 100mm target is held up by simple friction.

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Sample/ Projectile Shape AISI 4140 Rod(1") C-D Rod (1") C-D-P1-Al Rod (1") Table 3: Live Firing Results

Impact Velocity (m/s) 484 483 481

KE (J) 1018.61 1014.41 1006.02

Relative KE Ratio 1.000 0.996 0.988

Penetrate YES NO NO

4140 armor steel plate was in the region of about 1000 Joules. High speed photography showed that the rod penetrator was completely shattered and residual velocity of the fragments were about 118m/s. These photos, shown in Figure 6, were taken at 30s interframe time (33,333 fps). Composite Plates The composite plates were tested in a progressive manner to evaluate the role of each material in penetration resistance. The full-up test plate has an aluminum backing plate, which as shown by Boey,10 is necessary to provide rear support and confinement to the foam material to prevent it from spalling. Both composite plates were able to resist the 1 A2 projectile. This was a direct indication of the better performance afforded by the composite construction over that of the AISI 4140 armor steel of equivalent areal density. Figures 7 and 8 shows the actual sample and damage results.

Figure 7: Sample C-D showing complete fracture of the ceramic first layer but no penetration.

Figure 8: Sample of C-D-P1-Al showing complete fracture of the ceramic first layer but no penetration.

Post Test Measurements Deformation measurements of the damaged samples were done in order to compare the relative performance of the various target plates. The dimensions are as defined in Figure 9. Table 4 summarizes the damage results. Discussion I (Result From The Live Firing Experiment) Performance Of Composite C-D
Figure 6: Target samples and high speed camera frame photographs of the AISI 4140 Steel Plate Impacted with the 1 long projectile at 484m/s. Complete penetration is observed.

The Ceramic/Dyneema composite plate of lower areal density outperformed that of the AISI 4140 armor steel. This provides the proof of concept for armor protection that this investigation had initially
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Description Designation AISI 4140 C-D C-D-P1-Al

Projectile Speed (m/s) 484 483 481

Overall Depth (mm) a 9.25 45.97 35.12

Hole Depth (mm) b 9.25 39.36 21.27

Hole Crater (mm) c 12.47 25.51 31.76

Hole Diameter (mm) d 8.44 25.51 31.76

All Projectiles were 25.4mm long rod penetrators with a diameter of 7.49mm, made of A2 AISI Tool Steel Table 4: Post Test Measurements of Specimen Damage

set out to achieve and showed the benefits of using wave spreading and energy absorption materials as discussed above. We note here that the ceramic layer is expected to be even more effective against penetrators that are less hard than those used in this study. This is because, for softer projectiles, there will be a greater amount of plastic deformation when they strike the very high compressive strength ceramic material. This effectively converts projectile kinetic energy into heat through the plastic flow process. Performance Of Composite C-D-P-Al Porous foam as a third layer has proven to be a good shock attenuator. Addition of a porous foam layer decreased the amount of target deformation significantly, by almost 24%. By absorbing the impact


It is useful to develop a computer model that reproduces the conditions of the experiment so as to allow a comparison with the experimental results. This will also help guide future experiments. The approach was to use Autodyn and define the properties of the material used in the experiment based on either literature research or reasonable estimates. Some assumptions are necessary due to the lack of concrete values in the available literature as well as the lack of resources and time to do material testing to obtain the actual mechanical properties. Material models that are used in the simulations are discussed first, and the simulations are presented thereafter. Ceramic Modeling Polynomial Equation Of State (Johnson-Holmquist Constitutive Model) Ceramics are unique in their response to impact loading. To capture the response of such brittle and sophisticated damage mechanisms, Autodyn uses the Johnson-Holmquist (JH-2) Constitutive Model which captures the progressive damage of ceramic materials subjected to impact loading.11 The various properties of Alumina (Al 2O3) have also been derived experimentally by Anderson et al and are shown in Table 5.12 These values have been adopted and incorporated into the Autodyn Material Library. Orthotropic Material Modeling To capture the somewhat complex dynamic response of the wave-spreading layer we must use a non-isotropic material model. Below we describe how we have constrained such a model for the Dyneema material used, in the absence of measured values for many of the relevant properties.

Figure 9: Dimensions that were measured using a 1/100th mm accuracy vernier calipers.

kinetic energy through cell wall collapse and pore compression, and turning it into waste heat through PV-work, the penetration process is made less effective, and the total deformation decreases. Generally speaking, the greater the porosity, subjected to a limit, the greater amount of energy absorption due to the combination effects of elastic buckling of cell walls, plastic deformation of collapsing cell walls, and volume compression.

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tech edge EOS Ref Density A1, Bulk Modulus A2 A3 B0 B1 T1 T2 Polynomial Strength Johnson Holmquist 152 GPa Continuous JH-2 6.57 GPa 0.88 0.64 0.007 0.28 0.60 Failure Hydro Tensile Limit Model D1 D2 Bulking constant, Damage Tensile Failure Erosion Erosion Strain Type
Table 5: Material Properties of Technical Ceramic, Alumina 99.5%.


Johnson Holmquist -0.262 GPa Continuous JH-2 0.01 0.7 1.0 Gradual JH-2 Hydro Pmin Geometric Strain 2.0 Instantaneous

3.89 gm/cm3 Shear Modulus,G 231 GPa -160 GPa 2774 0 0 231 GPa 0 Model HEL A N C B M

Conventions Used In This Section The ij-subscript of each normal stress or shear component represents the respective force in the i-direction acting on the j-plane. In the case of Poisson ratios (e.g. v12), the ij-subscript represents contraction in the j-direction, when subjected to extension in the i-direction. The simulations in this research were done using axial symmetry about the x-axis. This would mean that the 11-direction would refer to the through thickness direction (x-axis), while the 22-direction would refer to the transverse direction (y-axis) of the material samples. A hypothetical orthotropic material, D1, is defined to closely resemble the behavior of the actual Dyneema. Equation Of State Dyneema fibers are available in layers with identical 0/90 fiber orientation, and can be assumed to be transversely isotropic for added simplicity. Strictly speaking though, Dyneema will have slightly different properties in any directions other than the 0/90 orientation, but this increases the number of unknowns in the Stiffness Matrix. This assumption of Dyneema being transversely isotropic reduces the Compliance Tensors Matrix to 5 unknowns from the original 36. Equations (1) and (2) have been documented by Jones.13

The Compliance Matrix for a Transversely Isotropic material is given as:


Where {Sij} elements are defined as follows:


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tech edge Therefore, by defining the Youngs Modulus, Poisson Ratios, and Shear Modulus in the various directions, we can derive the Orthotropic Equation of State material model. Based on a density, , of 1.0 gm/cm3, and an estimated through-thickness (longitudinal) sound speed of 2 km/s (CL1) and an estimated lateral (transverse) sound speed of 12km/s (CL2,3) as reported by Hearle we shall assume that the shear sound speeds in the two directions are approximately half that of the longitudinal sound speed.14 That is, C S1 = 1km/s, and C S2,3 = 6km/s. This is known to be approximately true for a wide range of materials. These assumptions give us the longitudinal modulus, F, for the material: F11 = CL12 = 4 GPa F22/33 = CL2,32 = 144 GPa The shear modulus, G, of the material is: G23 = C S2,32 = 36 GPa G12/31 = C S12 = 1 GPa And thus, the theoretical Youngs Modulus can be obtained using: We can easily get v31 = 2.52


The Poisson Ratios for the other directions are easily calculated using the same relationship defined by Eq. (4), and we obtain: v13= 0.07, v21 = 2.52, v32 = 0.07. Thus, the material properties of the orthotropic material, D1, are defined in Table 6. Porous Material Modeling Equation Of State The P- compaction model from Herrman described the dynamic compaction of a porous material. As shown in Figure 10, there are several stages to the compression and release of materials in this model: 1. Initial elastic compression is governed by elastic buckling of cell walls. 2. The beginning of permanent volume change coincides with the start of plastic deformation of the cell wall at pressure Pe (which is the yield strength of the porous material). 3. Dynamic compaction then moves along Rayleigh lines to end states on the plastic curve (described by the equation shown in Figure 10) until the pressure reaches the fully compacted state at the solid compaction pressure Ps or is released to a partially compacted end state. 4. Unloading from a partially compacted state is elastic with its end state at a smaller ambient specific volume than the starting volume due to localized densification. This model is the simplest model that can realistically describe the shock compression and release process in porous materials. It also adequately describes the release from partially compacted states, which is important for low-stress applications. Because of this, the P- model is widely used in the dynamic materials community, and is widely used in hydrodynamic computer code simulations. More advanced models exist, but they are typically more complicated and computationally intensive. For this reason, the authors have chosen to use the P- model.
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E11 = 2.6667 GPa, and E22 = E33 = 96 GPa The engineering constants are obtained by defining the Poisson Ratios in the 3-1, 1-2, and 2-3 directions. Based on literature research, with reference to similar materials such as KFRP, it was assumed that the hypothetical material will have the following, v, properties: v12= 0.07 and v23 = 0.07 But because there is symmetry in the 2- and 3-directions, v12 = v13 and v31 = v21 and also using the following relationship:


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Table 6: Material Properties of Orthotropic Material D1.

To model the porous material using the P- equation of the state compaction model option in Autodyn, several critical parameters must first be specified. The parameters are as follows: 1. Initial density of the porous material 0. 2. Bulk sound speed in the elastic compaction region ce. 3. Maximum elastic pressure (pressure at yield) Pe. 4. Solid compaction pressure Ps. 5. Solid material Hugoniot parameters C and S. The initial density of the porous material can be determined experimentally using the immersion density technique or, more frequently, it is a parameter provided as a material specification by the material manufacturer.

The other input parameters for the computation model are determined using the methodology discussed by Grady and Winfree.15 First, to determine the bulk sound speed, in Eq. (3) is the relationship of how bulk sound speed ce varies with initial density 0: where is the bulk modulus, (3) For isotropic materials, the bulk modulus is related to the Youngs modulus, E, and Poissons ratio v by Eq. (4): (4)


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Using the scaling relation in Eq. (5) developed by Gibson and Ashby, the expectation is for the Youngs modulus E to vary with the square of density.16 The scaling relations for porous materials are derived mostly through empirical fitting of experimental data from extensive testing on polymeric foams. (5)

Assuming material isotropy during deformation, the bulk wave speed of the porous material can be related to the properties of the fully dense solid by Eq. (6):
Figure 10: P- Model.


The Hugoniot Elastic Limit, HEL is a measure of strength in a shock loading process that can be found from the yield strength. Assuming linear elastic behavior to yield point and a von Mises yield condition, the HEL can be determined from the uniaxial stress loading yield strength y by Eq. (7): (7)

This model predicts that HEL increases with density. The values of HEL for different foam densities of the same material are calculated using the y data provided by the manufacturer. The constant Cy can then be determined from a least-squares fit. Finally, to determine the pressure for complete compaction, Ps, the theoretical relation of HEL as a function of density is used. The solid compaction pressure is therefore the elastic pressure Pe at which 0 = s. The solid material Hugoniot parameters, namely solid bulk sound speed, C and the Hugoniot shock velocity slope S, are from Grady and Winfree. AISI 4140 Steel Plate The preceding section has defined the material properties which are needed to perform simulations of our experiments. The next stage of the simulation study was to establish a numerical model from which the performance of future AISI 4140 target samples subjected to high velocity impact from A2 material projectiles can be predicted. The material properties were taken from the Autodyn Material Library of 4340 steel, with slight modifications to its yield strength. A 0.295 diameter, 1 length A2 cylinder was modeled as the projectile. This simulation, shown in Figure 11, correctly predicted that the 1 long A2 steel rod striking at 484m/s would punch through the 5mm high strength

Using the y data provided by the foam manufacturer, the value of HEL is calculated. The maximum elastic pressure, Pe, at which yielding begins is then determined from Eq. (8). The Poisson ratio v of the material is obtained from published literature and manufacturer information.17 The hydrostatic pressure at which yielding occurs is from Grady and Winfree: (8)

Where HEL is taken to vary with foam initial density according to Eq. (9):



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Eos - P-Alpha Ref Density Porous Density Porous Sound speed Initial Compaction Pressure Compaction Exponent 1.265 gm/cm3 0.1602 gm/cm3 669.44 m/s 2.6 MPa 3.0 Strength Model - von Mises Shear Modulus 68.58 MPa Yield Stress 6.64 MPa Erosion Erosion Strain 2.0 Geometric Strain Instantaneous Solid Compaction Pressure Solid EOS Gruneisen Coefficient Ref Temp 112.54 MPa Shock 1.55 300K Parameter C1 Parameter S1 Specific Heat Compaction Curve 2.490km/s 1.56 86J/kgk Standard

Failure Model - Hydro(Pmin) Hydro Tensile limit - 2 GPa

Table 7: A summary of the material parameters for the polyurethane foam, PR 6710 GR

armor steel plate easily. Penetration of the AISI 4140 steel plate was achieved with a projectile residual velocity of 137m/s, which was higher than the experimental result of 118m/s. This is due to the fact that the projectile was completely fractured in the penetration process during the experiment, and this reduces its kinetic energy, resulting in a slightly lower residual velocity observed. Composite Plate Numerical Simulations Composite Plate C-D1 A composite target consisting of 6mm Ceramic layered over 5mm D1 material was modeled (Figure 12). The same A2 Tool Steel, 1 long cylinder, was made to hit at 483m/s. Gages were set up in the through thickness direction, as well as the 22-directions. It can be seen that the failure mechanism observed in the simulations agrees well with what was observed in the experiment. The presence of the ceramic dissipates much of the initial impact energy of the projectile through brittle fracture. There is delamination of the D1 material in all the layers, without shearing failure, and a large deformation of the D1 material is observed.18 The projectile was stopped about 0.32ms after impact.

Composite Plate C-D1-P1-AL Composite plates were modeled with 6mm Alumina ceramic, 5mm Dyneema HB25, 5mm PU Foam and a thin 1.5mm Aluminum 6061-T6 backing inertial backing plate to provide confinement for the porous foam. Problem set up and final deformation shape are shown in Figure 13. Complete crushing of the PU foam, delamination of the D1 layer, and brittle fracture of the ceramic is observed. This is comparable to the actual test sample. Time taken to arrest the projectile was 0.20ms. Discussion II (Experimental vs Autodyn Results) Having completed the simulations and the live firing experiments, it is possible to compare the results of each in order to determine the quality of the material modeling and the relative performance of the composites. Table 8 summarizes the results. Overall Penetration Depth It is to be expected that Autodyn produces results which show larger overall depth and bulge width compared to those observed in the experiment because of the confinement effects due to the experimental set up. It can be seen that the simulations have approximated the deformation in the 11-direction fairly accurately, with a maximum difference of 11.65%.


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Figure 11: Results of Autodyn Simulations of a 1 A2 Cylinder Projectile Impacting AISI 4140 Steel at 484m/s.

Figure 12: (Left) Initial shock wave profile of C-D1 composite plate. (Right) D1 shows obvious delamination and also tensile failure of the fibers.

Figure 13: (Left) Problem set up and initial shock wave profile of C-D1-P1-Al composite plate. Final deformation shape as predicted by Autodyn. (Right) Actual target sample for comparison.


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tech edge Target Conflguration C-D1 Impact Velocity. 483m/s C-D1-P1-A1 Impact Velocity. 481m/s Projectile Shape/ Material Rod (1") A2 - RHC 55-56 Type Overall Depth (mm) 45.97 49.90 9.14% 35.12 39.21 11.65% Hole Depth (mm) 39.36 43.20 9.76% 21.27 32.91 54.72% Hole Crater (mm) 25.51 16.85 -33.94% 31.76 17.32 -45.47% Hole Dia (mm) 25.51 12.87 -49.6% 31.76 13.04 -58.94% 0.200 0.320 Time (ms)



Rod(1") A2 - RHC 55-56


D Legend: C - Ceramic 6mm think D1 - Replicate closely Dyneema HB25 5mm thick P1 - PU foam 5mm thick, = 0.16gm/cm3
Table 8: Comparison of Experimental and Autodyn Results

E - Experimental A - Autodyn D - Deviation

However, as there were many assumptions made in the Autodyn Simulations, we can only conclude that the modeling provides a general guidance to the behavior of the system. Time Taken To Stop Projectile C-D1 performed the worst in this experiment as it took the longest time, 0.32ms, to stop the projectile, probably due to the failure mechanism of delamination and plastic deformation of the Dyneema fibers. Addition of the PU foam (C-D1-P1-Al) cut down the time by about one-third (~0.12ms) due to energy dissipation through volume compression, and hence less work done on the Dyneema to cause stretching and delamination. NIJ Level I I IIA II IIIA III IV This Experiment Material A2 Tool Steel Mass (gm) 8.7 Mass (gm) 2.6 6.2 11.7 10.2 15.55 9.7 10.8


Our initial design, which was arrived at by considering how shock (stress) waves propagate through several classes of materials, has been shown to perform dynamically in a way that is close to what was predicted from simulations before doing the integral experiments. It has been shown that a composite plate consisting of a very hard first layer, a wave spreading second layer, and a shock absorbing third layer will perform better than conventional armor steel of equivalent areal density. Ceramic has proven, as expected based on prior results in the literature, to be important as a first layer to meet the incoming projectile. However, ceramics KE (J) 133.12 301.77 569.46 921.19 1410.98 3405.88 4068.49 KE (J) 1019.01 Remarks .22 Cal 380 ACP .40 Cal 9mm .44 Cal 7.62mm 7.62mm AP Remarks 1" Cylinder

Velocity (m/s) 320 312 312 425 426 838 868 Velocity (m/s) 484

Table 9: NIJ Ballistic Protection Kinetic Energy Conversion Chart


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Rank 1 2 3 4 5

Composite (NIJ Level II Equivalent) Kevlar / Aramid Ballistic Panel Ballistic Steel Plate (1.45GPa Yield Strength) Ceramic + Dyneema Ceramic + Dyneema + Porous Polyurethane + Aluminum AISI 4140 Steel (655MPa Yield Strength)

Total Thickness (mm) 5.00 3.20 11.00 17.50 4.76

Average Density* (gm/cm3) 0.84 7.78 2.52 1.91 7.85

Areal Density (gm/cm2) 0.42 2.49 2.77 3.34 3.74

Composite (NIJ Level III) For Reference Kevlar 29 / Aramid + Al 2O3 Ceramic




* Water has reference density of 1.0 gm/cm

Table 10: Comparison of this study with Commercial Armor.

alone are not good armor materials because of their brittle fracture behavior. They convert a great deal of kinetic energy into fracturing their own matrix, but once failed, provide very little penetration resistance. We expect that the ceramic layer will be even more effective against projectiles made of softer materials, where significant plastic deformation in the projectile will occur.

through PV-work, it reduces the amount of kinetic energy to be dissipated by the Dyneema, thus reducing total deformation as well as total time taken to arrest the projectile. Through observations of the failure mechanism of each layer (fracture, energy absorption, energy dissipation), it is concluded that the sequence of the layering armor concept is fundamentally correct, and that the next stage of work would be to optimize the thickness and performance of each layer, as well as improving our ability to more accurately model these materials.

Our primary scientific result is that the idea of creating a composite armor by design, based on each material providing a unique dynamic property or properties to the system response, has merit.
In this study, a wave spreading second layer such as an advanced fiber composite, Dyneema, has proven to be an important asset in penetration resistance. By delaying the shock wave propagation in the 11-direction, time is allowed for the shock energy to be spread and dissipated through the target in the 22/33-directions. Porous foam as a third layer has proven to be a good shock attenuator by widening the shock rise time to delay the shock wave propagation. By absorbing the impact kinetic energy through compaction of the porous material, and turning it into waste heat


Our primary scientific result is that the idea of creating a composite armor by design, based on each material providing a unique dynamic property or properties to the system response, has merit. We believe that this approach, along with fundamental physics information and insights can lead to higher performance armor concepts. This is in contrast to a trial-and-error experimental approach. As mentioned earlier, the kinetic energy of the projectile (ignoring projectile geometry) is about 1000 joules. From Table 9, this can be roughly classified as an American National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Level II ballistic threat. On this basis, we may examine the potential of this research for future armor designs.
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By optimizing the layers further, it is possible that this approach will eventually surpass current NIJ Level III solutions using Aramid composites.
Table 10 provides a rough ranking of the test samples against well-established ballistic protection solutions using ballistic steel and Kevlar. It should be noted that the test samples were not tested to failure (penetration) as it was not the objective of this research to ascertain the NIJ equivalent of the test samples, and we do not claim that the test samples are ready for field applications. However, it can be observed that this approach to armor design is able to provide immediate success with an areal density (weight) that is comparable to ballistic steel. By optimizing the layers further, it is possible that this approach will eventually surpass current NIJ Level III solutions using Aramid composites. We also envision this approach leading to a single composite material that is created using a material-by-design process that could combine several beneficial dynamic properties for armor usage. This process can be readily extended to higher performance, design concepts guided by both calculations and experiments.

2. Other co-authors of the original paper were: Mr. Boey Chung Wai, Principal Engineer, Singapore Technologies Kinetics Pte. Ltd. Professor Robert S. Hixson, Department of Physics, Naval Postgraduate School. Professor Jose O. Sinibaldi, Department of Physics, Naval Postgraduate School. 3. J. R. Robbins, Ding J.L., Y. M. Gupta, Load Spreading and Penetration Resistance of Layered Structures A Numerical Study, International Journal of Impact Engineering 30, no. 6 (2004): 593615. 4. B. A. Gama, T. A. Bogetti, B. K. Fink, Yu C. J., T. D. Claar, H. H. Eifert, J. W. Gillespie Jr., Aluminum Foam Integral Armor: A New Dimension in Armor Design, Composite Structures 52 (2001): 381-395. 5. Y. M. Gupta, Ding J. L., Impact Load Spreading in Layered Materials and Structures: Concept and Quantitative Measure, International Journal of Impact Engineering 27, no. 3 (2002): 277291. 6. M. L. Wilkins, Mechanics of Penetration and Perforation, International Journal of Engineering Science 16, no. 11 (1978): 793807. 7. G. R. Fowles and D. R. Curran, Experimental Testing of Shock Attenuating Materials, AFSWC-TDR-6222 (March 1962). 8. W. Herrman, Constitutive Equation for the Dynamic Compaction of Ductile Porous Materials, Sandia Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 12 December 1968. Reprinted from Journal of Applied Physics 40, no. 6 (1969): 2490-2499. 9. Poh C. W., Investigation of New Materials and Methods of Construction of Personnel Armor, MSc thesis, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, December 2008. 10. Boey C. W., Investigation of Shock Wave Attenuation In Porous Materials, MSc thesis, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, December 2009. 11. T. J. Holmquist, G. R. Johnson, Response of Boron Carbide Subjected To High Velocity Impact, International Journal of Impact Engineering 35, no. 8 (2008): 742-752 12. C. E. Anderson Jr, G. R. Johnson and T. J. Holmquist, Ballistic Experiments and Computations of Confined 99.5% Al2O3 Ceramic Tiles, in Proceedings of the 15th International Symposium on Ballistics, M. Mayseless, S. R. Bodner, eds., Vol. 2, Jerusalem, Israel, 1995, 6572. 13. Robert M. Jones, Mechanics of Composite Materials, 2nd Edition (London: Taylor and Francis, 1999), 68-70. 14. J. W. S. Hearle, High Performance Fibers (Cambridge: Woodhead Publishing, 2001), 78. 15. D. E. Grady and N. A. Winfree, A Computational Model for Polyurethane Foam, in Fundamental Issues and Applications of Shock-Wave and High Strain Rate
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The author would like to thank his supervisor and mentor, Professor Robert Hixson for his guidance and enthusiasm during his studies at the Naval Postgraduate School, without which this research would not have been possible. His encouragement and confidence were instrumental in the publication of this research in the International Journal of Impact Engineering.

1. This is a condensed version tailored to the interests of SAF POINTER readers. The original paper was first published in the International Journal of Impact Engineering 38, no. 5 (May 2011): 369-383, ijimpeng.2010.12.003.

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Phenomena, By K. P. Staudhammer, L. E. Murr, M. A. Meyers, eds. (Oxford: Elsevier Science, 2001), 485-491. 16. M. F. Ashby, et al, Metal Foams: A Design Guide, (Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2000); L. J. Gibson and M. F. Ashby, Cellular Solids: Structure and Properties, 2nd Edition (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997).


17. General Plastics Manufacturing Company, LAST-AFOAM FR-6700 Aircraft Foam, June 2009, http:// php?pid=15. 18. Ong C. W., Investigation Of Advanced Personnel Armor Using Layered Construction, M.S. thesis, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, December 2009.

MAJ Ong is a Commando Officer by vocation and is currently a Weapon Staff Officer in GS (Development) Systems Integration Office. He is a recipient of the SAF Academic Training Award and SAF Postgraduate Scholarship. He holds a BEng (First Class Honours) in Civil Engineering and MSc in Defence Technology & Systems from NUS, and a MSc of Science (Distinction) in Combat Systems Technology from the Naval Postgraduate School. MAJ Ong is also concurrently pursuing a PhD in Protective Technology from the Department of Civil Engineering, NUS.


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