Numerical simulation of ceramic composite armor subjected to ballistic impact

K. Krishnan, S. Sockalingam, S. Bansal, Subramaniam Rajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

194 Scopus citations


Armor systems made of ceramic and composite materials are widely used in ballistic applications to defeat armor piercing (AP) projectiles. Both the designers and users of body armor face interesting choices - how best to balance the competing requirements posed by weight, thickness and cost of the armor package for a particular threat level. A finite element model with a well developed material model is indispensible in understanding the various nuances of projectile-armor interaction and finding effective ways of developing lightweight solutions. In this research we use the explicit finite element analysis and explain how the models are built and the results verified. The Johnson-Holmquist material model in LS-DYNA is used to model the impact phenomenon in ceramic material. A user defined material model is developed to characterize the ductile backing made of ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) material. An ad hoc design optimization is carried out to design a thin, light and cost-effective armor package. Laboratory testing of the prototype package shows that the finite element predictions of damage are excellent though the back face deformations are under predicted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-593
Number of pages11
JournalComposites Part B: Engineering
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • A. Plates
  • B. Delamination
  • B. Impact behavior
  • C. Finite element analysis
  • Ceramic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Numerical simulation of ceramic composite armor subjected to ballistic impact'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this