Research Papers

Characterizing the Interaction Among Bullet, Body Armor, and Human and Surrogate Targets

[+] Author and Article Information
Weixin Shen

 L-3 Communications Applied Technology, 3394 Carmel Mountain Road, San Diego, CA 92121

Yuqing Niu

 L3 Communications, JAYCOR, 3394 Carmel Mountain Road, San Diego, CA 92121

Lucy Bykanova

 L-3 Applied Technologies Group, 10770 Wateridge Circle, San Diego, CA 92121

Peter Laurence, Norman Link

 L-3 Applied Technologies Group, 2700 Merced Street, San Leandro, CA 94577

J Biomech Eng 132(12), 121001 (Nov 01, 2010) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4002699 History: Received February 10, 2010; Revised September 08, 2010; Posted October 04, 2010; Published November 01, 2010; Online November 01, 2010

This study used a combined experimental and modeling approach to characterize and quantify the interaction among bullet, body armor, and human surrogate targets during the 101000μs range that is crucial to evaluating the protective effectiveness of body armor against blunt injuries. Ballistic tests incorporating high-speed flash X-ray measurements were performed to acquire the deformations of bullets and body armor samples placed against ballistic clay and gelatin targets with images taken between 10μs and 1 ms of the initial impact. Finite element models (FEMs) of bullet, armor, and gelatin and clay targets were developed with material parameters selected to best fit model calculations to the test measurements. FEMs of bullet and armor interactions were then assembled with a FEM of a human torso and FEMs of clay and gelatin blocks in the shape of a human torso to examine the effects of target material and geometry on the interaction. Test and simulation results revealed three distinct loading phases during the interaction. In the first phase, the bullet was significantly slowed in about 60μs as it transferred a major portion of its energy into the body armor. In the second phase, fibers inside the armor were pulled toward the point of impact and kept on absorbing energy until about 100μs after the initial impact when energy absorption reached its peak. In the third phase, the deformation on the armor’s back face continued to grow and energies inside both armor and targets redistributed through wave propagation. The results indicated that armor deformation and energy absorption in the second and third phases were significantly affected by the material properties (density and stiffness) and geometrical characteristics (curvature and gap at the armor-target interface) of the targets. Valid surrogate targets for testing the ballistic resistance of the armor need to account for these factors and produce the same armor deformation and energy absorption as on a human torso until at least about 100μs (maximum armor energy absorption) or more preferably 300μs (maximum armor deformation).

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Ballistic test setup: (a) view from the horizontal pulser and (b) view from the gun barrel

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Figure 2

Setup of FEM simulation cases for simulating tests and studying bullet-armor-target interaction

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Figure 3

Sample FXR images of armor back face deformations as well as the comparison with FEM calculations (units are in m/s, μs, mm, and mm for impact speed, time, depth, and width of dents, respectively)

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Figure 4

Comparison of armor back face deformations calculated from simulations with test measurements

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Figure 5

Deformation fringe plots of FEM simulations of bullet-armor-target interaction

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Figure 6

Comparison of bullet, armor, human responses for different impact locations, and gaps

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Figure 7

Comparison of bullet, armor, and target responses on different targets




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