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Inspection System for Body and Vehicle Ballistic Armor

Description:

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials 

OBJECTIVE: Develop a man-portable, Non-Destructive Inspection (NDI) system for expedient body armor and vehicle ballistic armor damage assessment. 

DESCRIPTION: Personnel and vehicle ballistic armor are typically composed of a multilayer, composite structure composed of various combinations of ceramic, Kevlar, ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene, metal alloys and ceramics. These armors can be damaged by severe ballistic and shock impact, and are also subject to damage in handling and use. Relatively minor impacts could cause damage in a number of ways. Dropping a ceramic armor plate onto a hard surface, or a non-ballistic impact (diving for cover, etc.) could fracture the ceramic, cause fiber/matrix damage in the retention layer, or could de-laminate any of the adjacent layers. The current armor inspection systems utilized by the Army often require disassembly and removal from vehicles or return of individual body armor and components to facilities that have larger scale instrumentation and inspection capabilities. Current inspection capabilities require armor to be removed from the troops or vehicles and sent to higher maintenance levels, often out of theater, for testing. The limitations of these systems have the potential for delaying replacement and depends upon additional logistical support, which creates supplementary manpower requirements and supply issues. Any delay in providing replacement armor for the combat Soldiers has potential negative survivability issues. Additionally, there are significant material and control costs for unnecessarily replacing serviceable armor. The Army has a critical need to for innovative technology solutions that will lead to the development of a man-portable, Non-Destructive Inspection (NDI) system for expedient body armor and vehicle ballistic armor damage assessment. The system should be transportable in its entirety by a single Soldier-operator (e.g., weight less than 80 pounds); capable of expediently (less than 15 minutes) assessing a 2 square foot area of a 2 inch thick composite material; detecting submillimeter delamination of ceramic-composite interfaces; capable of the identification of micro-deformations and micro-cracking before they evolve into critical defects capable of weakening or threatening the structural integrity of the material and to detect weaknesses in adhesive bonds before they disbond; capable of identifying millimeter cracks in ceramics; operate on both flat and curved surfaces; and be capable of operating using vehicle power or independently on battery power. Solutions that utilize x-rays will not be considered under this topic in order to avoid radiation effects and shielding requirements. The technology will be transitioned to Army research and development and commercialized for Army and wider DoD armor assessment applications and civilian applications for damage assessment of composite structures. 

PHASE I: Develop innovative concept designs based upon modeling and simulation; perform laboratory experiments and testing of components and materials as needed; and perform analysis of envisioned approaches and solutions. Estimate the feasibility of the recommended solution to meet weight constraints (less than 80 pounds); assess a 2 square foot area of a 2 inch thick composite material in less than 15 minutes; and the capability of identification of micro-deformations and micro-cracking on flat and curved, monolithic and layered configurations with a 90% probability of success. 

PHASE II: Complete component design using modeling and simulation and complete laboratory characterization experiments. Establish and validate all performance metrics and performance parameters through experiments (weight constraints (less than 80 pounds); assess a 2 square foot area of a 2 inch thick composite material in less than 15 minutes; and the capability of identification of micro-deformations and micro-cracking on flat and curved, monolithic and layered configurations with a 90% probability of success). Demonstrate a man-portable configuration of a Non-Destructive Inspection (NDI) system on composite and composite-ceramic armor materials configurations. 

PHASE III: The proposed technology innovations will be advanced through the developed commercialization plan to develop marketable products to government and/or commercial sectors. This includes a man-portable NDI inspection system for composite and ceramic-composite systems, and technology licensing. 

REFERENCES: 

1: T. Meitzler, G. Smith, M. Charbeneau, E. Sohn, M. Bienkowski, I. Wong, A. Meitzler, "Crack Detection in Armor Plates Using Ultrasonic Techniques", Journal of Materials Evaluation, American Society for Nondestructive Testing, June 2008

2: V. Godínez-Azcuaga, R. Finlayson, J. Ward, "Acoustic Techniques for the Inspection of Ballistic Protective Inserts in Personnel Armor", SAMPE Journal, September/October 2003

3: F. Margetan, N. Richter, D. Barnard, D. Hsu, T. Gray, L. Brasche, R. Thompson, "BASELINE UT MEASUREMENTS FOR ARMOR INSPECTION", AIP Conference Proceedings 1211 , pp. 1217-1224, 2010

4: W. Swiderski, D. Szabra, M. Szudrowicz, Nondestructive testing of composite armours by using IR thermographic method, 9th International Conference on Quantitative InfraRed Thermography, July 2-5 2008

5: K. Schmidt, J. Little, W. Ellingson, "A Portable Microwave Scanning Technique for Nondestructive Testing of Multilayered Dielectric Materials", Advances in Ceramic Armor IV: Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings 29 (6), April 2009

6: K. Van Den Abeele, A. Sutin, J. Carmeliet, P. Johnson, "Micro-damage diagnostics using nonlinear elastic wave spectroscopy", NDT&E International 34 pp 239-248, 2001

7: K.E.-A.Van Den Abeele, P. A. Johnson, A. Sutin, "Nonlinear ElasticWave Spectroscopy (NEWS) Techniques to Discern Material Damage", Part I: Nonlinear Wave Modulation, Res. Nondestr. Eval. 12, pp.17-30, 2000

8: I. Solodov, D. Döring, G. Busse, "New Opportunities for NDT Using Non-Linear Interaction of Elastic Waves with Defects", J. Mech. Eng. 57 (3), pp.169-182, 2011

 

KEYWORDS: Nonlinear Elastic Wave Spectroscopy, Man-portable Non-destructive Inspection System, Ballistic Protection, Body Armor, Armored Vehicles 

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