Experimental Mechanics

, Volume 56, Issue 4, pp 595–605 | Cite as

The Efficiency of Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Composite Against Fragment Impact

  • L. H. Nguyen
  • S. Ryan
  • S. J. Cimpoeru
  • A. P. Mouritz
  • A. C. Orifici
Article

Abstract

This paper presents an experimental investigation into the ballistic resistance of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE) composite, and compares its performance against a range of common metallic and composite armour materials. An extensive experimental program was conducted to determine the ballistic limit velocity (V50) of UHMW-PE composite against 12.7 and 20 mm fragment simulating projectiles (FSPs) for a wide range of thicknesses. For protection against these projectiles, UHMW-PE composite was found to be consistently more mass efficient than rolled homogeneous armour steel (RHA), high hardness armour steel (HHA), aluminium alloy 5059-H131, and polymer composites reinforced with aramid, glass or carbon fibres. In terms of armour space claim, UHMW-PE composite was found to be less efficient than both steel types and glass fibre-reinforced plastic, though it was comparable to aramid fibre-reinforced plastic, and was more efficient than aluminium 5059-H131 and carbon fibre-reinforced plastic. Scaling effects were observed that showed metals were more effective against smaller projectiles in terms of armour mass required to stop a given projectile kinetic energy. These effects were not observed to the same extent for UHMW-PE composite, giving rise to a higher UHMW-PE mass efficiency against larger projectiles.

Keywords

UHMW polyethylene Composite Ballistic impact Mass efficiency Space efficiency 

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Copyright information

© Society for Experimental Mechanics 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. H. Nguyen
    • 1
    • 3
  • S. Ryan
    • 2
  • S. J. Cimpoeru
    • 2
  • A. P. Mouritz
    • 1
  • A. C. Orifici
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing EngineeringRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Defence Science and Technology OrganisationFishermans BendAustralia
  3. 3.Defence Materials Technology CentreHawthornAustralia

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