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Materials and Design 31 (2010) 3308–3316

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An experimental study on the ballistic impact behavior of some metallic armour materials against 7.62 mm deformable projectile
Pradipta Kumar Jena *, Bidyapati Mishra, K. Siva Kumar, T. Balakrishna Bhat
Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory, Kanchanbagh, Hyderabad – 500 058, India

a r t i c l e

i n f o

a b s t r a c t
The investigation describes and analyses the ballistic impact behavior of a high strength armour steel and Al-7017 alloy under 7.62 mm deformable projectiles at a velocity of 830 ± 10 m/s at normal angle of attack. The high strength armour steel is subjected to two different heat treatments to see the effect of different mechanical properties on the ballistic behavior. The ballistic result of the Al-7017 alloy is compared with that of the steel. Some observations relating to the adiabatic shear bands formation have also been presented. Experimental results showed that among the investigated materials, the best ballistic performance was attained with the armour steel at 910 °C austenitisation followed by 200 °C tempering condition. Ó 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Article history: Received 10 November 2009 Accepted 4 February 2010 Available online 8 February 2010 Keywords: Armour steel Al-7017 alloy Heat treatment Ballistic property

1. Introduction Development of armour materials has focused on reducing the weight of the existing armour materials because reduced weight helps in saving energy as well as increasing mobility. For long, steels have been used as armour due to their high strength combined with good toughness and low cost. It has led to the search for different processing techniques like heat treatment, cold rolling, etc. to increase the strength and hardness of steel, which in turn helps in reducing the weight of armour. Previous studies have extensively studied the effect of heat treatment on the improvement of mechanical as well as ballistic properties of steel [1–9]. In an earlier study, it was pointed out that under the armour piercing (AP) projectiles at 30° angle of attack heat treatment improves strength and hardness by approximately 30% where as ballistic efficiency improves by 21% [6]. However, most of the above studies have been carried against mainly 7.62 mm armour piercing (AP) projectile, which has a non-deformable hard steel core. It defeats the target by imparting all its kinetic energy onto the target. Very few studies have been attempted to understand the material behavior against 7.62 mm deformable projectiles which has a deformable core. The projectile deforms during the penetration process and has a different target defeat mechanism than that of armour piercing projectile, which does not deform at all during the penetration process. 7.62 mm deformable projectiles are mainly used against soft targets like human beings, automobiles, etc. In this context it is essential to study

the material behavior against 7.62 mm deformable projectiles and also find ways to reduce the weight of armour. High strength aluminium alloys have long attracted attention, due to their low densities, and high strengths, offering applications as light weight armours. A large number of references are available in literature on ballistic behavior of high strength aluminium alloys [10–17]. Siva kumar et al. have studied the behavior of 15 mm Al7017 alloy against 7.62 mm AP and 7.62 mm deformable projectiles [16]. A significant difference in the material behavior has been reported against the two different projectiles. In this paper an attempt has been made to explore the behavior of a high strength armour steel in two different tempering conditions and Al-7017 alloy against 7.62 mm deformable projectiles. A comparative study of the related damage and deformation patterns of the materials has been carried out to understand the difference in areal density required for different materials and at different heat treated conditions against 7.62 mm deformable projectiles. The possibility of reduction of weight against 7.62 mm deformable projectiles has also been considered.

2. Experimental procedure The alloy plates of Al-7017 are received from Alcan International (UK). The armour steel is a standard homogeneous alloy made by vacuum arc melting by Steel Authority of India Limited, India. Rolling and further processing of the steel is done in the factory. The steel is given prior heat treatment of austenitisation at 910 °C followed by oil quenching and tempering at 650 °C in the factory before supplying to laboratory. The nominal chemical composition of the steel and Al-7017 alloy is given in Table 1. The

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +91 40 24586332; fax: +91 40 24342252. E-mail address: (P.K. Jena). 0261-3069/$ - see front matter Ó 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.matdes.2010.02.005

2% V. Properties of the projectile are given in Table 2. 1. 0. The ballistic testing arrangement is given elsewhere [6].0±0. the centreto-centre distance between two impact craters on the plate is maintained at least three times the diameter of the projectile. 0.8  10À1 sÀ1 using an Instron Universal Testing machine (Instron 5500R). The impact velocities of the projectile are measured in each test with the help of an instrumented velocity measuring equipment.62 mm deformable projectiles. Jena et al. are cut and the impacted regions are observed to understand the deformation behavior of the material. 7 and 8 mm thicknesses. 1 presents a general view of the projectile and its core structure. Type Cartridge length Cartridge material Jacket material Core material Bullet weight with brass jacket Bullet weight without brass jacket Bullet length Diameter of lead projectile Nose type Property 3309 initial thicknesses of the armour steel plates received from the manufacturers are 25 mm and that of the Al-7017 plates are 30 mm. 2–3% Mg. which deteriorate the surrounding material properties [9. Samples of 150  100 mm cross section are cut and subjected to reheat-treatment for modifying the mechanical properties.P. 0.0% Ni. 1. About 30 kg load is used to determine the hardness of the steel samples and 5 kg load is used for the Al-7017 samples. Results and discussion Table 3 illustrates the mechanical properties of the Al-7017 alloy along with differently tempered steel plates. ultimate tensile strength (UTS) and percentage elongation of the armour steel (both in as received and re-heat-treated condition) and the Al-7017 alloy are measured at a strain rate of 4.1 TO 6.0±0. 3 ml HCl. Material Al-7017 Steel Chemical composition 4–5. .1 39.1 All dimensions are in mm Fig. Standard metallographic techniques are used for microstructural studies.5% Mo. In order to prevent any interaction between earlier ballistically induced transformation.3–0.5–2. Four separate specimens are tested for each thickness group.5–0. Fig.1–0. Fig. 0. 0. The plates are austenitised at a temperature of 910 °C followed by quenching in oil to get a fully martensitic structure. Tensile samples are machined according to ASTM E-8M.62 mm deformable round using a standard rifle. (c) Lead core of the projectile. Fig.35% Si. 2.2–0. The steel specimens are etched with 2% Nital and the Al-7017 alloy samples are etched with Keller’s reagent (5 ml HNO3.62 mm deformable projectile.7% Mn. The velocities of impact are measured as 830 ± 10 m/s. On impact. the aim was to find out the lowest areal density required to stop the projectile successfully. formation of shear bands.7% Cr. To ensure the stability of projectiles. 2 shows the schematic diagram of a tensile specimen. Hardness of the metallic samples is measured according to ASTM E 140-02 by using an AFFRI Vicker’s hardness tester.17].0 25. / Materials and Design 31 (2010) 3308–3316 Table 1 Chemical composition of Al-7017 and armour steel plates.45% Fe.05 g 26.62 mm deformable projectile.02% Al. 1. Smooth bulging at the rear side of the target plate is considered for determining the critical thickness of the material required to stop the projectile successfully. cracks.0±0. balance Fe Table 2 Some properties of the 7.88 ± 0.18]. 0. steel and Al-7017 plates with the lowest areal density to stop the deformable projectile. The re-heat treated plates are subjected to ballistic testing to find out the minimum thickness required to stop the 7. The gun is properly aligned in a level plane. balance Al 0. (b) Projectile with brass jacket. Then the plates are tempered at a temperature of 200 °C followed by air cooling. The re-heat treatment temperature has been taken from earlier optimised heat treatment studies on the same steel [8. 6. The projectile is fired from a distance of 10 m. 3. Five samples each are taken and tested at room temperature to find out the mechanical properties. Optical and electron microscopes are used to observe the deformed microstructure of the plates.35% Cr. The yield strength (YS). Schematic of the flat tensile sample. In a ballistic test.K.53 mm 5. After ballistic trials.5 32.66 mm Conical Areal density ðkg=m2 Þ ¼ t  d where t (in m) and d (in kg/m3) are thickness and density of the plates respectively. the target plate undergoes microstructural transformations in the vicinity of the crater area including material deformation. the gun is mounted on a rigid mount with holding devices. The plates are machined into different thicknesses to find out the minimum thickness required to stop the 7. The areal density of the target plates are calculated as follows: 70. Each target plate is subjected to three shots to get the ballistic behavior statistically.3% Si.35% C.0±0. It has a brass jacket while its core is made up of lead.5 THICKNESS (T) =2.62 mm deformable projectile in the as received condition.034 g 6. etc.48 mm Copper Brass Lead 9. The hardness of the lead core of the projectile is 12 VHN. 2 ml HF and 190 ml water) to reveal the microstructure.3–0. 0. All the targets are impacted at 0° angle of attack with 7. Then the armour steel plates are hot rolled at 1100 °C to 5. 0. The average yield strength and ultimate tensile strength of Al-7017 is 10. (a) 7.2% Zn.1 111.4–1. This may affect the correct evaluation of ballistic performance of the material. Ten measurements for each specimen are carried out in the hardness tests and the average value is reported here.0±0.

Fig.1 0.8 – Engineering Stress (MPa) Steel . a min- imum of 10 mm thickness plate is required to stop the projectile at 650 °C tempering condition. 5 shows the macroscopic comparison of the cut halves of the craters of critical thickness of Al-7017 and the differently tempered steel plates. Petalling is a common failure mode of metallic plates subjected to localized high intensity loading [19]. It shows a base hardness of 135 VHN. No cracks are observed in the front or back face in both type of tempered steel plates. 4f. 3 shows the comparative engineering stress–strain curve for the armour steel in the differently tempered conditions. where as it is 1428 MPa and 1830 MPa respectively at 200 °C tempering. A smooth bulge is observed at the back face of the plate. A nice ductile hole is observed at the front face of the 650 °C tempered target. 4 shows the closed view of the after impact photographs of the front and back faces of the Al-7017 and the differently tempered steel plates.4 54. In case of Al-7017 and steel of 650 °C tempering.6 78 – 62. 3. it can be seen that a minimum of 27 mm thickness Al-7017 plate is required to stop the projectile successfully. From Table 4. Jena et al. In case of steel. But the bulge height observed is much lesser than that of the 10 mm plate tempered at 650 °C. Smooth bulging is observed in the back face of the plate. Fig. Fig. Fig. Fig. For the 650 °C tempering the ductility measured in terms of percentage of elongation is 16% where as it is 11% for the 200 °C tempering plate.8 75. No petalling is observed in the front face of the heat treated steel plates. 4e. The average yield strength and ultimate tensile strength of the plates at 650 °C tempering is measured to be 1161 MPa and 1265 MPa respectively. Fig. From the back face it can also be seen that apart from the impacted area the rest of the plate material is little involved in the deformation process. 5b. Engineering stress–strain graph of the 200 °C and 650 °C tempered steel. energy absorption in metallic armour materials like steel takes place by plastic deformation. The projectile particles marked as white lines are seen to be spread over a much larger area in the front side. Fig. mechanical properties resisting the material flow have a direct effect on the ballistic performance of materials. where as it is 548 VHN at 200 °C. In 650 °C tempering condition the strength and hardness levels are low.3310 P. 458 MPa and 508 MPa respectively. In some cases the shear deformation band extended up to the back of the plate.05 0. Fig. Material Al-7017 Heat treatment Velocity (m/s) 830 830 830 830 650 °C 650 °C 650 °C 200 °C 200 °C 200 °C 200 °C Tempering Tempering tempering Tempering Tempering Tempering Tempering 830 830 830 830 830 830 830 Thickness (mm) 30 28 27 26 12 10 9 8 7 6 5 Results Stopped (no bulge) Stopped (smooth bulge) Stooped (smooth bulge) Hole Stopped Stopped Hole Stopped Stopped Stopped Hole (smooth bulge) (smooth bulge) (smooth bulge) (smooth bulge) (smooth bulge) Areal density (kg/mm2) 83. Table 4 summarizes the ballistic test results. At the rear side of the target plate smooth bulging is observed Fig. For that reason higher thickness material is required Table 4 Results of ballistic trials.K. In case of 650 °C tempered plate it can be seen that the projectile impact produced shear deformation extending from the corners of the crater at the impacted surface towards the back surface of the plate. From the engineering stress–strain graph it can be seen that there is a large difference in the mechanical properties of the two differently tempered plates. In the front face localised melting of the projectile is clearly seen in the centre of the impact area. However. The hardness of the steel is found to be 301 VHN at 650 °C tempering.4 77. there is an improvement of 40% in ballistic efficiency in the 200 °C tempering than 650 °C tempering. / Materials and Design 31 (2010) 3308–3316 Table 3 Mechanical properties of the as received Al-7017 alloy and the armour steel in two tempering conditions. From the back face it can also be seen that a larger amount of material is involved in the deformation process. only 6 mm thickness plate successfully stopped the projectile at 200 °C tempering condition. Fig.2 Engineering Strain Fig.6 46. ductile hole is clearly seen from their crater halves and the hole diameter is bigger than the actual projectile diameter. 4c. This indicates a good resistance of the material at the 200 °C tempering to deformation by projectile impact. Therefore. Thus. The material is also compressed insignificantly in the impacted zone. 4d. Material Al-7017 Armour steel Condition As received 650 °C Tempering 200 °C Tempering YS (MPa) 458 1161 1428 UTS (MPa) 508 1265 1830 Elongation (%) 17 16 11 Hardness (VHN) 135 301 548 2000 1600 1200 800 400 200° Tempering 600° Tempering 0 0 0. During ballistic impact. 4a. In the cross sections of the 6 mm plates tempered at 200 °C a small crater is observed. only an indentation mark is observed in the front face. 4b. Therefore an increase in strength and hardness values improves the ballistic performance.15 0.06 – 93. Incase of the 200 °C tempered plate. This deformation is the result of high radial and circumferential tensile stresses. In the Al-7017 alloy the material flows out to form a nice petalling structure at the front face of the target.

9. to stop the projectile. (c) Front view of the 10 mm steel plate tempered at 650 °C plate showing crater hole. Views of damage patterns at the front side and rear side of target plate after projectile penetration. (f) Rear face of the 6 mm steel plate tempered at 200 °C showing a small bulge. This leads to a decrease in the thickness of the plate required to stop the 7. The microstructure of the plate adjacent to the crater wall shows large deformation throughout the path of projectile. . in the 200 °C tempering case. oriented parallel to the rolling direction. Previous investigations have also pointed out similar correlations of ballistic properties with strength and hardness [6. increased strength and hardness value increases the resistance to plastic deformation. However. Jena et al. 4. (b) Rear view of the plate showing smooth bulge at the impact area.K. (a) Front view of the 25 mm Al-7017 plate showing nice petalling damage. due to its low density its areal density is nearly equal to that of the steel at 650 °C tempering condition. The microstructure of the Al-7017 is seen to consist of elongated grains. 6.7. That’s why much thicker plate is required to stop the projectile.P. (e) Front face of the 6 mm steel plate tempered at 200 °C showing a small indentation mark. / Materials and Design 31 (2010) 3308–3316 3311 Fig. The projectile is seen to be embedded in the target. Al-7017 has strength levels much lower in comparison to the studied armour steel. The microstructure of the Al-7017 alloy in the as received condition is given in Fig.20].62 mm deformable projectiles at equivalent velocities. But. (d) Rear view of the 10 mm steel plate tempered at 650 °C plate showing bigger bulge.

The material deformation is almost insignificant even at the front face of the target. The extent of the material deformation and number of shear bands decreases as one moves towards the rear of the plate. The microstructure of the cross sections of the 10 mm plates tempered at 650 °C showed prominent material flow around the crater wall at the impact side of the projectile. As seen in Fig. 5. Jena et al. Cracks with multiple branches are also observed. No shear bands or cracks are observed at the rear of the plate. At higher magnifications a deformed zone of 8–10 lm adjacent to the crater wall is observed. (c) 6 mm steel plate tempered at 200 °C. Fig. There is a gradual decrease in the extent of the material flow towards the rear side of the plate. Many shear bands are observed adjacent to the crater wall. 7c shows a closer view of a shear band. The grains located near the adiabatic shear band are severely elongated along the shear direction. (a) 25 mm Al-7017 plate. Fig. The arrow direction gives the projectile penetration direction. Fig. 9b. / Materials and Design 31 (2010) 3308–3316 Fig. Plenty of shear bands are observed at the impact side of the target Fig. There is no branching observed in cracks. 7a. 9a. Fig. providing an easy crack propagation path. 8a and b. where as finer martensitic laths are observed at the 200 °C tempering. Fig. 7b the adiabatic shear bands connect with cracks. 650 °C tempered plate shows coarse martensitic lath structure. 6. Crater half sections. Fig. No cracks are observed either at the impacted face or at the rear face of the target plate. (b) 10 mm steel plate tempered at 650 °C. . 10a.K. No shear bands are observed at the rear face of the plate. Fig. In the cross sections of the 6 mm plates tempered at 200 °C only a few shear bands are observed adjacent to the crater wall. 8 shows the scanning electron micrographs of the differently tempered steel plates. 10b. Shear bands are observed leading to cracks Fig. As received microstructure of Al-7017 showing elongated grains along the rolling direction.3312 P.

Higher ‘n’ value improves the ballistic performance of materials [25]. Strain hardening exponent ‘n’ gives a very good idea of the localization tendency of deformation in the material. This localised flow when gets severely constricted leads to adiabatic shear bands. The 7. (a) Deformed grains observed adjacent to the crater wall. at 200 °C tempering ‘n’ is 0. More the n value. due to low ‘n’ value the material flow on impact gets localised. (b) A shear band leading to crack adjacent to the crater. (b) 200 °C tempered plate. high strain hardening rate and low thermal softening rate are favorable for suppressing ASB formation [24]. As can be seen from Fig. The arrow direction gives the projectile penetration direction. 8. Fig. Scanning electron micrographs of the tempered steel plates (a) 650 °C tempered plate.P. Jena et al. High strength and high ‘n’ value observed at 200 °C allows the target plate to absorb more impact energy without the material flow getting severely localised. That’s why adiabatic shear bands are observed to be leading to cracks. High strain. 11.62 mm deformable projectile deforms on impact. 8b. Fig. Though ductility is higher at 650 °C. heat generated by the shear deformation is restricted to a narrow annulus in which it decreases the material strength and causes instability. Failure modes are highly dependent on the geometry of the target and the projectile. 7. And as the incompatibility increases to accommodate the deformation.07 at 650 °C tempering. 7 and 10. Increase in strain hardening rate at 200 °C tempering can be clarified from its finer martensite lath size. ASB is a region of growing incompatibility to the rest of the matrix. / Materials and Design 31 (2010) 3308–3316 3313 Fig. In a previous study similar increase in ‘n’ value with lower tempering temperature has been reported for AISI 4030 steel [1]. When projectile strikes. (c) Close view of a shear band. Adiabatic shear bands (ASB) occur in many materials subjected to a variety of high rate deformations including ballistic plugging and penetration [21. Fig. From Figs. the region leads to crack. The observation of less severe material flow and only a few shear bands can be explained from its higher strain hardening rate (n). more homogeneous would be the deformation.22]. Fig. 11. Shear bands represent strain localization and a heterogeneous deformation [23]. a clear adiabatic shear band induced plugging mode of failure is observed in the Al-7017 as well as the 10 mm armour steel plate tempered at 650 °C. 12a shows a typical deformed projectile .K.22 where as it is 0. Shear band is generated due to this extension of thermo-mechanical instability. Microstructure of the Al-7017 adjacent to the crater area after ballistic impact.

incase of deformable projectiles a part of the total energy is used to deform the projectile and the remaining is being consumed for the deformation of the target. So the projectile deforms more freely producing a bigger and thinner circular disc. due to high strength and hardness of the plate no hole is produced. impacted against 10 mm thick steel plates tempered at 650 °C and Fig. / Materials and Design 31 (2010) 3308–3316 Fig. (b) Small deformed zone of 8–10 lm adjacent to the crater wall.K. (a) Microstructure of the 10 mm steel plate tempered at 650 °C adjacent to the crater area after ballistic impact showing material flow around the crater. But incase of 200 °C tempering. From the present study it is observed that. As the projectile deforms into a bigger diameter circular disc as in case of 200 °C tempered plate. Jena et al. On impact the projectile has deformed into a thin circular disc in both the cases. for non-deformable projectiles the hard steel core of the projectile does not . It is reported that nearly 45% of the energy is absorbed by the deformable projectile for its own deformation during penetration in the target [26]. This produces a phenomenal increase in performance of the armour.3314 P. the diameter of the circular disc of the deformed projectile impacted against 650 °C tempered plate is less than that of the diameter of the deformed projectile impacted against 200 °C tempered plate. So a much larger volume of the target plate is associated in the energy absorption process. Where as. 12b shows the projectile impacted against 6 mm thick steel plates tempered at 200 °C. energy is transferred from the projectile to the target plate. density and hardness. During the process of penetration the projectile gets eroded and its diameter is constrained by the ductile hole. However. 9. the deformable projectile on impact makes a ductile hole due to the low strength of the target plates. In case of Al-7017 and the steel plate at 650 °C tempering. the impact energy is also distributed over a larger area. Also the thickness of the deformed projectile impacted against 200 °C tempered plate is lower in comparison to the deformed projectile obtained against 650 °C tempered plate. shape. The projectile’s penetration and deformation capability depends largely on its size. When projectile strikes. As the volume of the target material involved increases it leads to a more homogeneous deformation process. The arrow direction gives the projectile penetration direction.

Among the investigated materials.12 -4. The plastic deformation is better distributed and more homogeneous as shear bands are not formed. The 7. The propagation of shear bands occurred at the target projectile interface leading to cracking and an adiabatic shear band induced shear plugging. / Materials and Design 31 (2010) 3308–3316 3315 (a) 0.4351 Ln σ 0. The extent of deformation and enlargement of the deformed projectile after impact.2 0 -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 Ln ε (b) 7.5 0. This is a result of many factors. Only a few shear bands are observed adjacent to the crater area at 200 °C tempering.6 y = 0. In this study. much higher thickness armour steel plate at similar heat treated condition is required to stop the non-deformable projectile even at 30° angle of attack [6]. An adiabatic plugging mode of failure was observed in the critical thickness of Al-7017 and 650 °C tempered steel plates. 10. The present study illustrates that the studied steel at 200 °C tempering gives the best ballistic performance.8 0.16 7.P.2 7.14 7.K. Jena et al. due to the resistance offered by the target material. Strain hardening co-efficient measurement graphs. Homogeneous deformation has increased the absorption of impact energy [27].5 -1.5 -0. gave an idea about the ballistic performance of the plate. The strength and hardness values are much higher at 200 °C tempering of steel. only 6 mm thick armour steel plate at the re-heat-treated condition successfully stops the deformable projectile at 0° angle of attack. Conclusions Fig.62 mm deformable projectile on impact deformed to form a circular disc. the better would be the ballistic performance of the target plate. 3. Therefore. 4. So.0713x + 7. material with higher areal density is required to stop the non-deformable projectile. in case of the non-deformable projectiles more severe material deformation is observed along the crater wall as compared to the deformable projectiles [16]. deform and the total kinetic energy of the projectile is entirely used for the deformation of the target material. But. 2. 11. High strength and homogenous deformation are desirable conditions for maximizing energy absorption under high strain rate deformation conditions such as those encountered in ballistic impact events. In the present study.22 7. Higher the spread of the projectile. high hardness along with high strain hardening rate of the steel at 200 °C tempering helped in improving the ballistic performance of the steel. (b) Strain hardening co-efficient of the steel plate tempered 650 °C. . 4. the best ballistic performance was attained with the armour steel plate at 200 °C tempering condition.62 mm deformable projectile was investigated.18 ln σ 7.5 -2.2251x + 1. (b) Figure showing cracks associated with the shear band.5 y = 0. This homogeneous deformation matches well with high ‘n’ values of 200 °C tempered plate.07 -3. the ballistic performance of Al-7017 and a high strength armour steel against 7. From the experimental observations main conclusions can be given as follows: 1.4024 n = 0. High strength.5 Ln ε Fig. (a) Strain hardening graph of the steel plate tempered at 200 °C.4 n = 0. This study also shows that in the quest for high performance alloys at high strain rate deformations. it will be beneficial to explore ways of suppressing adiabatic shear bands. (a) Figure showing shear bands in the 10 mm steel plate tempered at 650 °C. This combination of strength and homogeneous deformation can be achieved by employing suitable heat treatment cycles.22 0.

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