Agency: Office of Naval Research
Dates: 09/01/2017 – 08/31/2020
The overarching goal of this program is to develop, fabricate, characterize (both statically and dynamically) and optimize micro/nano‐architected ceramic/metal and ceramic/polymer composites for blast and ballistic protection.
Current armor systems are primarily designed to mitigate two threats: blast and penetration, both possibly occurring over a wide range of intensity and projectile speed and size. A successful armor dissipates the kinetic energy of the blast or projectile via plastic deformation while resisting penetration, all while maintaining the stress level on the protected size within acceptable limits. As no single material exists that can be simultaneously optimized for all these requirements, modern armors are complex multifunctional structures, generally composed of different materials bonded to each other. The need to minimize weight while maintaining appropriate levels of protection is a key driver, in both body and vehicle armor.
A holistic approach to armor design, i.e., an ‘armor as a system’ vision, could potentially result in significant weight saving, by simultaneously optimizing a single functionally‐graded structure to meet all design criteria. Practical implementation of this vision is very challenging, though, requiring careful mixing of two or more materials, with accurate control of the phase topologies, across multiple scales (from the micro/nano‐scale of the phase intertwining to the armor structure scale). This approach is particularly timely, as recent progress in advanced manufacturing has provided new exciting avenues for fabrication of topologically complex multi‐material composites, with two or more phases intimately and precisely intertwined at the micro and nano‐scale.
Here we propose to leverage these novel fabrication opportunities to develop a multifunctional ceramic/metal and ceramic/polymer armor system that is simultaneously optimized for energy absorption and penetration resistance. We will develop novel fabrication approaches for ceramic/metal and ceramic/polymer composites with desired phase topologies; we will characterize our composites microstructurally and mechanically, both under quasi‐static and dynamic conditions, to assess their performance in terms of energy absorption and resistance to penetration; we will use the experimental results to calibrate and validate existing computational models that will allow us to explore a very wide design space; we will combine these models with optimization tools to design the optimal functionally graded multifunctional armor system. As an optional task at the end of the program, we will explore the potential benefit of introducing porosity in the system (in a topologically controlled way) as a way to further tune mechanical properties and density.
Lab members: Anna Guell, Babak Haghpanah, Jens Bauer