Advanced science.  Applied technology.


Penetration Mechanics

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


image of numerical parametric study of increasing projectile strength 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)