Armor Mechanics


Contact Information

James D. Walker, Ph.D.
Director
Engineering Dynamics
(210) 522-2051
jwalker@swri.org

Image: Numerical simulation of a long-rod projectile against a spaced-armor array

Numerical simulation of a long-rod projectile against a spaced-armor array

 

Image: Scale-model ceramic laminate (RHA/Al2O3/RHA) targets

Scale-model ceramic laminate (RHA/Al2O3/RHA) targets

 

Image: Flash x-ray of a long-rod projectile in flight (top); same projectile after impact to induce fracture (bottom)

Flash x-ray of a long-rod projectile in flight (top); same projectile after impact to induce fracture (bottom)

 

Image: Damaged ceramic tile, impacted by a 7.62-mm APM2 bullet

Damaged ceramic tile, impacted by a 7.62-mm APM2 bullet

 

Image: Response of two types of aluminum alloys to impact by a lead-filled ball round Image: Response of two types of aluminum alloys to impact by a lead-filled ball round

Response of two types of aluminum alloys to impact by a lead-filled ball round

The armor mechanics staff at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is internationally recognized for contributions to fundamental and applied understanding of penetration mechanics and armor mechanics.

For more than 30 years, SwRI staff has been using an integrated approach, including experimentation, numerical simulation, and analytical modeling, to investigate and solve fundamental and applied problems in:

  • Armor mechanics
  • Armor applications
  • Armor design
    • Reactive systems
    • Active systems
    • Armor concepts
  • Armor evaluation and studies
    • Experimental
    • Analytical
    • Computational

High-speed diagnostics and a wide variety of launchers support experimental studies. A complementary high-rate materials laboratory allows material characterization and determination of computational constitutive constants.

Armor Mechanics Applications and Experience

  • Low-speed impact
  • Small arms
  • Anti-tank kinetic energy projectiles
  • Chemical energy threats
  • Armor efficiency assessment
  • Evaluation of penetrator defeat mechanisms
  • Testing of passive armor, reactive armor, and active armor

Armor Technologies

Types of Armor

  • Monolithic
  • Multi-material
  • Multi-component
  • Spaced plate
  • Heavy
  • Light
  • Reactive
  • Active

Armor Materials

  • Metallics
  • Ceramics
  • Composites
  • Fabrics
  • Explosives
  • Inert elements

Projectiles / Threats

  • Long rods
  • Medium caliber
    • 14.5 (B32, BS41)
    • 30-mm AP
    • 30-mm APDS
  • Small arms
    • Rifle
    • Handgun
    • Armor-piercing
    • Ball
  • Fragment-simulating projectiles (FSPs)
  • Shaped charges

Defeat Mechanisms

  • Target strength
  • Obliquity
  • Fracture
  • Yaw
  • Rotation
  • Spaced elements
  • Erosion
  • Spreading the load

Armor Mechanics Applications

  • Ballistic limit
  • Ballistic protection design
  • Armor concept evaluation
  • Design improvements
  • Response of two types of aluminum alloys to impact by a lead-filled ball round

Armor Mechanics Facilities

  • Indoor ballistics range
  • 20- to 30-mm high-performance gun system
  • 50-mm high-performance cannon (impact velocities up to ~2.0 km/s)
  • Outdoor test areas, up to 1,000 yards
  • Storage, handling, and application of explosives
  • Fully equipped instrumentation trailer (high-speed data acquisition of pressure, strain, displacement, etc.)
  • Flash radiography
  • High-speed video (up to 60,000 frames per second)
  • Ultra-high-speed digital imaging (up to 100 million frames per second)

Related Terminology

penetration mechanics • armor mechanics • long-rod penetrators • small arms • body armor • ballistic testing • terminal ballistics • ballistic impact • fragment-simulating projectiles • FSP • shaped charges • armor concepts evaluation • passive armor • reactive armor • active armor • homeland security

Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 10 technical divisions.
04/15/14