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Novel Flexible Body Armor Utilizing Shear Thickening Fluid (STF) Composites

(1513) Dr. Eric D. Wetzel
ewetzel@arl.army.mil 410-306-0851

Prof. Norman J. Wagner
wagner@che.udel.edu 302-831-8079 Young Sil Lee Ron Egres Keith Kirkwood John Kirkwood Phil Matthews

Army Research Laboratory
Composites and Lightweight Structures Branch Bldg. 4600, AMSRL-WM-MB Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21005-5069

University of Delaware
Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Center for Composite Materials Newark, DE 19716

14th International Conference on Composite Materials San Diego, CA

14 July 2003

Outline • Background – Body armor – Shear thickening fluids (STFs) – STF / Kevlar composite Experiments – Ballistic tests – Flexibility tests – Stab tests Mechanisms of energy absorption in STF composite Continuing work • • • .

legs. Mabry.e. R. F. stiff – Material requirements • • • • Flexible Low bulk Lightweight Minimum protective level: frag / shrapnel protection Interceptor Vest Kevlar® KM2 . neck – Battlefield statistics* Conflict WWII Korea Somalia Desert Storm Iraqi Freedom % of soldiers with non-fatal injuries (NFI) located on extremities *Sources: D. Trauma. S. neat Kevlar) too bulky. M. v49 n3 2000. Trauma. J. Battlefield Casualties and Medical Statistics: U.E. % of soldiers with NFI due to frag / shrapnel % of NFI due to bullets PASGT Vest Kevlar® 29 70% 71% 75% 64-87% 73% 58% 43% 95% 32% 38% 42% 5% 32% • Currently no armor for extremities – Conventional materials (i. L. v40 n3 1996. Washington Post. Brown. J. Army Experiences in the Korean War. Carey. May 4 2003.Body Armor • Conventional body armor – 20-40 layers of neat Kevlar • Rigid ceramic inserts for high threat situations • – Torso protection only Extremities protection – Extremities: arms. 1973. Reister.

colloidal particles At high shear rates.57 • • 4 η (Pa s) viscosity 10 10 10 10 3 2 1 0 • -5 200 nm 10 -1 Liquid phase highly filled with rigid. and hydroclusters form Particles collide. hydrodynamic forces overcome repulsive interparticles forces. material becomes macroscopically rigid 10 10 -4 10 -3 10 -2 10 -1 γ (1/s) shear rate .Shear Thickening Fluid (STF) Rheology of ethylene glycol based STF 10 10 10 6 5 φ=0. 10 0 10 1 10 2 10 3 10 4 equilibrium shear thinning shear thickening increasing shear rate .62 φ=0.

little or no impediment to motion At high shear rates (ballistic impact) – Relative motion of yarns / fibers within fabric deforms STF at high rate – STF transitions to rigid phase.Application to Body Armor • • Impregnate Kevlar fabric with shear thickening fluid At low shear rates (normal motion) – STF behaves like a liquid – High flexibility. enhances ballistic protection of fabric • STF Kevlar fabric before impact during impact .

Materials • Shear thickening fluid – Colloidal silica particles (avg particle size: ~450 nm or 120 nm) – Ethylene glycol (EG) or polyethylene glycol (PEG) carrier fluid • Advantages over water carrier fluid: – Wets Kevlar moderately – Environmentally stable 200 nm • • – Final particle concentration: 55-65 vol% Kevlar – KM-2 Kevlar® fabric – Style 706. 600 denier (180 g/m2) Composite preparation – Dilute STF with ethanol – Wet diluted STF into Kevlar – Evaporate ethanol in oven (80°C for 20 min) colloidal silica particles 10 µm STF-impregnated Kevlar fabric .

types of STF – Encapsulate impregnated Kevlar in polyethylene film – Sandwich target between aluminum foil faces – 2”x2” in size mounting frame target adhesive tape • Ballistic tests – 0. not clamped – Clay witness clay witness • Quantify ballistic performance in terms of depth of penetration • Use clay ballistic curves to relate penetration depth to energy absorbed by target . patterns.Ballistic Experiments • Targets – Impregnate Kevlar with varying amounts.22 cal FSP – Velocity ~ 825 fps – Target set in frame.

62 φ=0. 10 0 10 10 (s-1) 1 2 10 3 10 4 • Shear rate during ballistic experiments projectile velocity 244 m/s 104-105 s-1 = = projectile diameter 0.56 cm – Ballistic impact should transition fluid to rigid state .STF Rheological Properties • Shear thickening transition at shear rate of ~ 101-103 s-1 Rheology of ethylene glycol based STF 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 6 5 φ=0.57 4 viscosity (Pa s) η (Pa s) 3 2 1 0 -1 10 -5 10 -4 10 -3 10 -2 10 -1 shear rate γ (1/s) .

Effect of STF Impregnation • Impregnation of STF into Kevlar is critical to enhance ballistic performance of neat fabric 20 A 15 D Penetration depth (mm) B 10 E C 5 F Legend: single Kevlar layer STF fluid 4 Kevlar layers impregnated with STF fluid A B C D E F 0 Target geometry .

various matrix materials: STF (450 nm EG) STF (120 nm PEG) Dry silica Ethylene glycol 80 75 70 65 0 0.3 0.Effect of Volume of STF • • 95 Adding more STF increases energy absorption in target Adding neat ethylene glycol (EG) or dry silica powder of equal mass has less effect on energy absorption 90 % Energy dissipated 85 All targets 4 layers of Kevlar.1 0.6 Areal density (g/cm ) Energy Dissipation (%) = Absorbed Energy × 100 Initial Impact Energy .2 0.4 2 0.5 0.

STF-Kevlar composites require lower areal density than comparable neat Kevlar At high fluid loadings.5 0.6 Areal density (g/cm ) .1 0.3 0. v =83% f Neat Kevlar 4 layers Kevlar 80 75 0 0.4 2 0. STF-Kevlar composites require fewer Kevlar layers than comparable neat Kevlar 20 layers Kevlar 14 layers Kevlar 8 layers Kevlar 20 layers Kevlar 95 % Energy dissipated 90 4 layers Kevlar 14 layers Kevlar 10 layers Kevlar 85 6 layers Kevlar STF (450 nm EG) in 4 layers Kevlar STF (120 nm PEG) in 4 layers Kevlar STF (120-nm PEG) in N layers Kevlar.Comparison of STF Kevlar with Neat Kevlar • • At high fabric loadings.2 0.

25 mL STF (120 nm) impregnated 4-layer Kevlar: Thickness: 1.7 g Ediss: 86.9 g Ediss: 76.3 g Ediss: 87.4 mm Weight: 1. thinner and more flexible than neat Kevlar targets with comparable ballistic performance θ=50o θ=13o θ=50o 20 g weight 4-layer Kevlar: Thickness: 1.2% .4 mm Weight: 2.Flexibility / Bulk of STF-Impregnated Kevlar • STF-impregnated Kevlar targets are lighter.0 mm Weight: 4.7% 0.7% 10-layer Kevlar: Thickness: 3.

28g) f 60 STF (30 nm PEG) in 6 layers Kevlar.20g) f 50 STF (120 nm PEG) in 8 layers Kevlar.29g) 11 layers neat Kevlar (5. v = 83% (4.17g) 40 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 Velocity (m/s) .High Velocity Performance • All targets reach critical velocity above which ballistic performance drops off drastically • Velocity (fps) 492 656 820 984 1148 1312 90 • Increasing the number of fabric layers increases the high velocity performance STF-Kevlar at high fabric loadings offers superior high velocity performance to neat Kevlar % Energy dissipated 80 70 STF (30 nm EG-PEG) in 4 layers Kevlar. v = 38% (5. v = 57% (5.61g) f 7 layers neat Kevlar (3.

3 0.Effect of STF Patterning • 95 Compare fully-impregnated Kevlar with pattern-impregnated Kevlar – All patterns with 6 layers of Kevlar 90 Energy Dissipation (%) center 85 edge stripe 80 Neat Kevlar Full STF + 4 layers Kevlar Full STF + 6 layers Kevlar Center STF + 6 layers Kevlar Edge STF + 6 layers Kevlar Stripe STF + 6 layers Kevlar 0.2 0.4 2 Impregnation pattern has little or no quantitative effect on depth of penetration 75 0.6 Areal Density (g/cm ) .1 0.0 0.5 0.

Effect of STF Patterning (cont’d) • Pattern of STF fundamentally influences the failure pattern / mechanism in target striped edge plain .

preventing inter-yarn mobility at high strain rates 2.6 1. no fracture) 1 0.2 STF addition increases pull-out energy first layer of Kevlar (back three layers show little pullout.4 1.8 1.2 • Quasi-static yarn pull-out experiments: Normalized Pullout Energy 2 STF PEG 1.Mechanism of Ballistic Energy Absorption in STF Composite • Mechanisms of energy absorption in conventional fabric armors – Yarn pullout – Fiber plastic deformation – Fiber fracture Compare impacted targets (4 layers of Kevlar with and without STF) first layer of Kevlar (back three layers show – Less pullout in STF composite comparable pullout) – More fiber fracture in STF composite unimpregnated Kevlar • STF appears to be “grabbing” yarns.8 0 5 10 15 20 25 STF-impregnated Kevlar % Liquid Impregnation .

05 0.11 2 0.1 0.13 Areal density (g/cm ) NIJ Standard-0115.09 0.12 0.Stab Resistance of STF-Kevlar Composite • STF-Kevlar is highly stab resistant – Conventional Kevlar fabric is relatively easy to puncture 50 45 STF (450 nm PEG) in Kevlar Neat Kevlar Penetration depth (mm) 40 35 30 25 20 15 0.07 0.00 3.06 0. 24 J impact neat Kevlar STF-Kevlar .08 0.153 kg weighted knife blade.

2 0.Effect of Particle Anisotropy • Anisotropic CaCO3 particles with aspect ratio of 5:1 – Less particle loading required to achieve shear thickening 10 95 3 10 % Energy dissipated 90 2 φ = 0.3 0.6 Areal density (g/cm ) Potential benefits – Lower nominal viscosity → easier processing and wearability – Shear thickening effect without particles approaching closepacking → easier to fabricate .5 0.1 0.4 2 0.51 η (Pa s) 10 1 85 All targets 4 layers of Kevlar. various STF matrices: STF (450 nm EG) STF (120 nm PEG) STF (5:1 anisotropic EG) 10 -2 10 0 10 . 10 γ (1/s) -1 0 10 1 80 • 75 0 0.

Continuing Work Material and Target Design • Materials – STF material • Particle anisotropy • Particle size – Possibility for enhanced energy absorption mechanisms at very small particle sizes • Particle material -> polymeric. rubber particles – Lower density particles for reduced target weight – Softer particles for modification of energy absorption mechanisms • Particle surface energy – Fabric • Denier • Weave • Fiber type – Architecture • Patterning / STF-to-fabric ratio • Layer sequencing • Test configuration – Larger target sizes – Higher velocities .