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Deformation and Failure Modes of Soft Steel Projectiles Impacting Harder Steel Targets at Increasing Velocity


The present paper describes an experimental and numerical study concerning the impact of blunt steel projectiles against harder steel plates, at impact velocities between 200 and 800 m/s. In contrast with previously published observations, three modes of deformation and failure of the soft steel projectiles were observed in the present study. These included: Taylor cylinder mushrooming, sunflower-like petalling and plugging perforation. Individual velocity ranges and the transitions between the deformation/failure modes are identified by both experiments and numerical simulations. Complex material failure mechanisms of projectile and target play conflicting roles in the various penetration stages. Johnson–Cook models of strength and accumulative damage failure are employed in 3D numerical simulation to describe material behavior of both projectile and target. Computational evolutions of each scenario are offered in detail to understand the deformation and failure of projectile and target plate.

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The authors would like to thank Prof. Zvi Rosenberg of RAFAEL, Israel, for his careful reading of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to X. W. Chen.

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Chen, X.W., Chen, G. & Zhang, F.J. Deformation and Failure Modes of Soft Steel Projectiles Impacting Harder Steel Targets at Increasing Velocity. Exp Mech 48, 335–354 (2008).

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  • Taylor impact
  • Mushrooming
  • Sunflower-like petalling
  • Plugging perforation