Penetration Mechanics animated image


Contact Information

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

image: Long-rod projectile sabot (top) and a flash radiograph of the sabot opening in flight

Long-rod projectile sabot (top) and a flash radiograph of the sabot opening in flight

 

image: Penetration channel for an L/D 30 tungsten-alloy projectile into an armor steel target

Penetration channel for an L/D 30 tungsten-alloy projectile into an armor steel target

 

image: Normalized penetration efficiency vs. impact velocity for three different L/D ratio projectiles

Normalized penetration efficiency vs. impact velocity for three different L/D ratio projectiles

 

image: Flash radiograph of armor-piercing bullet impacting a ceramic/metal substrate target

Flash radiograph of armor-piercing bullet impacting a ceramic/metal substrate target

Fundamental and applied problems in penetration mechanics have been investigated and solved for more than 30 years by engineers at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) using an integrated approach, including:

  • Experimentation
  • Numerical simulation
  • Analytical modeling

The penetration mechanics staff is internationally recognized for contributions to fundamental and applied understanding of the mechanics and physics of penetration.

High-speed diagnostics and a wide variety of launchers are used to support experimental studies. Demonstrated capabilities include sabot design and fabrication for a wide range of projectiles from irregular-shaped objects to long rods with high aspect ratios (L/D < 30). A complementary high-rate materials laboratory enables material characterization and determination of computational constitutive constants.

Penetration Mechanics Applications and Experience

  • Low-speed impact
  • Small arms
  • Anti-tank kinetic energy projectiles
  • Advanced penetrator concepts
  • Shaped-charge jet formation and penetration
  • Penetration efficiency assessment
  • Hypervelocity impact

Penetration Mechanics Facilities

  • Indoor ballistics range
  • 20/30-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
  • 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)
image: Comparison of numerical simulations to experiment of a 7.62-mm APM2 bullet impacting (at muzzle velocity) a B4C/6061-T6 Al armor

Comparison of numerical simulations to experiment of a 7.62-mm APM2 bullet impacting (at muzzle velocity) a B4C/6061-T6 Al armor


image: Numerical parametric study of increasing projectile strength: L/D 10 tungsten alloy projectile impacting a hard armor steel target at 1.5 km/s (t = 75 µs)

Numerical parametric study of increasing projectile strength: L/D 10 tungsten alloy projectile impacting a hard armor steel target at 1.5 km/s (t = 75 µs)

Related Terminology

penetration mechanics  •  armor mechanics  •  long-rod penetrators  •  small arms  •  body armor  •  ballistics testing  •  terminal ballistics  •  ballistic impact  •  fragment-simulating projectiles  •  FSP  •  shaped charge  •  sabot design  •  concept evaluation  •  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