Unlocking Function of Aramid Fibers in Multilayered Ballistic Armor

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© 2014, The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society and ASM International. Aramid fabric plies were ballistic tested using high impact 7.62 × 51 mm ammunition in two distinct conditions: (1) as a common multilayered armor system (MAS) component backing a front Al2O3-based tile, and (2) with the same plies thickness, as a single target. Single targets of the ceramic tile and the aluminum sheet (MAS third layer) were also tested. In the MAS, the aramid dissipated more than 36 pct of the impact energy during the test compared with only ~2 pct when separated from the MAS. Microscopic examination of aramid fabric revealed many ceramic fragments with a size of a few micrometers that coated surfaces of fibers. It is shown for the first time that, in addition to already reported fabric rupture, debonding, and stretching, a massive incrustation of ceramic fragments onto the fabric fibers might be responsible for the comparatively high aramid ballistic performance as the MAS component. Besides the mechanical incrustation and van der Waals forces on the harder ceramic fragments, it is proposed that short-living surface static charges generated on the aramid fibers could contribute to the capturing process.

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Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A: Physical Metallurgy and Materials Science