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International Journal of Impact Engineering 76 (2015) 9e19

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International Journal of Impact Engineering


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/ijimpeng

Experimental and numerical analysis of the dynamic fragmentation in


a SiC ceramic under impact
J.L. Zinszner a, b, P. Forquin c, *, G. Rossiquet d

Laboratoire d'Etude
des Microstructures et de M
ecanique des Mat
eriaux (LEM3), Universit
e de Lorraine, Ile du Saulcy, F-57045 Metz Cedex 1, France
CEA, DAM, GRAMAT, BP 80200, F-46500 Gramat, France
c
Laboratoire Sols Solides Structures e Risques (L3SR), Universit
e Grenoble Alpes, BP 53, F-38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, France
d
Laboratoire de Synth
ese et Fonctionnalisation des C
eramiques, Saint-Gobain CREE, 550 Avenue Alphonse Jauffret, F-84306 Cavaillon Cedex, France
a

a r t i c l e i n f o

a b s t r a c t

Article history:
Received 8 November 2013
Received in revised form
3 July 2014
Accepted 13 July 2014
Available online 18 September 2014

Silicon carbide ceramics are generally used in armour congurations for the foot-soldier or military
vehicles. However, their behaviour during impact is not fully understood. In this work, the dynamic
fragmentation of silicon carbide has been characterised through different impact congurations: Edgeon impact tests and normal impact tests have been conducted in open and sarcophagus conguration. In
the rst conguration, an ultra-high speed camera is used to visualise the fragmentation process with an
interframe time set to 1 ms. The sarcophagus conguration provides a post-mortem view of the damage
pattern. Moreover, a comparison with numerical results given by an anisotropic damage model shows a
good capacity to predict the damage patterns and the cracking densities of the ceramic after impact but
also the damage kinetics observed during impact. In addition, an original impact conguration is proposed for characterising the dynamic behaviour of a pre-fragmented ceramic. The tests have been
compared to experiments performed with a plane aluminium alloy target. The results underline the good
penetration resistance of the fragmented ceramic.
2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords:
Fragmentation
Ceramic
Silicon carbide
Impact
DFH damage model

1. Introduction
In the ballistic eld, one of the main areas of research consists in
improving the ballistic performance of armour systems while
ensuring a considerably lower weight, either to increase the
mobility of the military vehicles or to make the body armour of the
foot soldier less restrictive. One way to achieve this objective consists in using ceramic materials like alumina or silicon carbide as
front face of bilayered congurations [1,2]. Indeed, ceramics present
very interesting mechanical properties like exceptional hardness
and high compressive strength [3e6]. Moreover, these materials are
almost half the density of steel materials. Several studies have
proved their effectiveness in breaking and stopping projectiles
[3,7e10]. However, besides these interesting mechanical properties,
ceramics present a brittle behaviour under tensile loading, leading

* Corresponding author. Present address: Laboratoire Sols Solides Structures  Grenoble Alpes, BP 53, F-38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, France.
Risques (3SR), Universite
Tel.: 33 4 76 82 52 48; fax: 33 4 76 82 70 43.
E-mail address: pascal.forquin@3sr-grenoble.fr (P. Forquin).
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijimpeng.2014.07.007
0734-743X/ 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

to an intense fragmentation during impact [8,11,12]. One way to


limit this drawback consists in associating the ceramic plate with a
back layer made of ductile materials (e.g., steel, aluminium alloy,
composite) in order to ensure the structure integrity and absorb the
impact energy [2]. Thus, the bilayered conguration is widely used
all around the world for the protection against small and medium
calibre projectiles. Usually, the optimisation of the armour conguration is made thanks to a series of ballistic tests changing gradually the thickness of front and back plates. Nevertheless, these
congurations are usually tested for a small number of projectile
types, a short range of impact velocities and considering a single
type of ceramic and backing. Using such iterative empirical
approach, the mechanisms governing the performance of armour
solution cannot be understood. Moreover, signicant differences of
performance are observed even in the same family of ceramic [9,10].
Thus, understanding the penetration mechanisms is necessary.
Impact loading is a complex interaction in which three successive
loading stages can be distinguished. In the rst time, a shock wave
propagates in the target generating a dynamic compression loading.
One of the principal results is to erode or brake the projectile [2]. In
the ceramic, the pressure rises and may exceeds the Hugoniot
Elastic Limit (HEL). During this period, important plasticity

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J.L. Zinszner et al. / International Journal of Impact Engineering 76 (2015) 9e19

mechanisms and microcrackings can be observed within the material [13e19]. However, it can be noted that a minimum impact
velocity of about 700 m/s is necessary to generate such phenomena
in SiC ceramics. Later, dynamic tensile stresses induced by the radial
displacement of the matter and the reected waves lead to an
intense fragmentation of the ceramic [11]. Contrary to the
compressive damage, an impact velocity of about 10 m/s is sufcient
to generate tensile damage. This fragmentation can be described by
the anisotropic damage model formulated by Denoual, Forquin and
Hild [12,20,21] named the DFH model. Finally, during a last stage
spreading over several tens of microseconds, the projectile (or its
fragments) penetrates the damaged ceramic. The mechanical
behaviour of the fragmented ceramic may play an important role in
the penetration resistance of the armour. However, due to the difculty to recover a damaged specimen without any loss of fragment,
only very few studies have analysed the mechanical behaviour of
fragmented ceramics. Among these studies, we can distinguish
quasi-static and dynamic studies performed on powders in order to
determine the friction coefcient of the grains [22], compression
experiments on powders and pre-damaged ceramics [23] or impact
studies on powders and thermally shocked ceramics [24]. In the
present work, the fragmentation of a SiC ceramic under impact has
been investigated through different types of impact experiments. In
the rst part, the studied material and the different experimental
congurations (edge-on impact test and normal impact test) are
presented. The fragmentation of the ceramic under impact is analysed by means of an ultra-high speed camera and post-mortem
observations. In the second part, the DFH anisotropic damage
model is used to simulate the experiments and to compare the
damage features of both impact congurations. Finally, an original
armour-piercing impact test on a pre-fragmented ceramic is
detailed. This experimental technique is used to characterise the
penetration resistance of the fragmented ceramic.
2. Impact experiments
In order to characterise the fragmentation of ceramics under
impact, different experimental congurations are considered. In
this part, the projectiles have a cylindrical shape. They are 10 mm in
diameter and 15 mm thick. The constitutive material of the projectile is a 15CDV6 steel (UTS: 1300 MPa). It has been chosen to
minimise the deformation of the projectile during impact. The
weight of the projectile is about 9.3 g. To launch the projectile, a
single stage gas gun has been used and the back half of the projectiles is encased in a Teon guiding sabot. These sabots are
21.15 mm in diameter, which corresponds to the diameter of the
tube. The sabot does not have any inuence on the fragmentation of
the ceramic since it hits the ceramic target several tens of microseconds later. The impact velocity is measured by three light sources
and photodiodes connected to an oscilloscope. In all cases, impact
velocities are ranging from 170 to 180 m/s. The impact velocity
about 175 m/s was set to avoid any compressive damage but to
cause a strong fragmentation of the ceramic due to the tensile stress
elds. The ceramic grade considered in this study is detailed below.
2.1. Presentation of Hexoloy silicon carbide
Silicon carbide ceramics are among the most used ceramics for
armour protection. In this work, a commercial silicon carbide grade
made by Saint-Gobain has been considered. This grade, called
Hexoloy SA, is produced from a submicron silicon carbide alpha
powder and by pressureless sintering technique. After sintering
process, the material presents a ne grain microstructure (max
grain size: 10 mm) and a density greater than 98% of the theoretical

density [25]. The typical physical properties of Hexoloy are gathered in Table 1.
2.2. Edge-on impact tests in sarcophagus conguration
The so-called edge-on impact (EOI) conguration was rst
developed during the eighties and the nineties by the Ernst-MachInstitute (EMI) in Germany [26e28] and more recently in the
Centre Technique dArcueil (CTA) in France [8,11,12]. The aim of EOI
test is to visualise the fragmentation process occurring in a ceramic
tile during an impact. A cylindrical projectile hits a ceramic tile on
its edge. The size of the tested tile is 60  30  8 mm3. Despite the
low impact velocity (lower than 180 m/s), the impact generates a
shock loading of about 3.4 GPa. This compressive wave propagating
within the target induces a radial motion of the matter generating
an intense damage of the ceramic. Denoual and al [29]. have shown
that the same damage mechanisms can be observed in EOI tests and
in real impact. Moreover a sarcophagus conguration may be used
to perform a post-mortem analysis of the damage pattern. In this
conguration, the ceramic tile is put in an aluminium casing in
order to limit the fragments displacement. However, in order to
limit the inuence of the sarcophagus on the fragmentation process, an impedance discontinuity is necessary between the ceramic
tile and the aluminium sarcophagus. Thus, little pieces of cardboard
are used. The Fig. 1 shows the assembly after impact (once the
lateral part of the sarcophagus is removed).
In order to perform a post-mortem analysis, the fragmented
ceramic is inltrated after impact by a hyper uid resin. The Fig. 2
shows the fragmented ceramic after inltration and polishing. One
can see that, thanks to the sarcophagus, the fragments are kept near
their initial position (the fragments located just above the impact
point are not covered by the sarcophagus and may move). Different
types of cracking are visible: rst, a large number of radial cracks is
observed in the centre of the target. They are due to the radial
displacement of the matter induced by the compressive wave. The
second set of cracks named conical cracks seems to be initiated on
the impacted edge. Cracks triggered on the rear face are also
observed due to release waves coming from the lateral and rear
edges. In addition some cracks orthogonal to the radial cracks are
seen. This post-mortem observation can also provides an estimation of the cracking density considering the mean distance between
each crack in a dened region. For example, a mean distance between cracks of 0.5 mm corresponds to a cracking density of about
8  109 cracks per cubic metre. By drawing several arcs of circle
centred on the impact point, the mean distance between cracks can
be calculated knowing the number of cracks crossing each arc. The
cracking density has been estimated in two regions (white dashed
lines in Fig. 2). The rst zone is 10  5 mm2 in dimension whereas
the second zone is 8  8 mm2 in dimension. In the rst region, the
mean distance between cracks is ranging from 0.17 to 0.50 mm,
which corresponds to a cracking density ranging from 8  109 to
2  1011 cracks/m3. In the second region, the cracking density is
less. Indeed, the cracking density is ranging from 5  109 to 2  109
cracks/m3. However, this conguration doesn't give any information about the fragmentation kinetics. To analyse the fragmentation
process, an open conguration has been used with an ultra-high
speed camera.
Table 1
Typical physical properties of Hexoloy silicon carbide [25].
Density Grain size Hardness Elasticity Poisson Compressive
strength (MPa)
(kg/m3) (mm)
(Knoop) modulus ratio
(GPa)
Hexoloy 3100

4e10

2800

410

0.14

3900

J.L. Zinszner et al. / International Journal of Impact Engineering 76 (2015) 9e19

11

Fig. 1. Assembly used in the EOI tests after impact.

2.3. Edge-on impact tests in open conguration


Edge-on impact tests can also be performed without any
sarcophagus (open conguration). In this conguration, an ultrahigh speed camera can be used to analyse the kinetics of the
fragmentation during impact. In this work, a Shimadzu HPV-1
camera has been used. The interframe time is set to 1 ms and the
camera is triggered by using a velocity interferometer pointing out
the rear face of the ceramic tile. Three impact tests have been
performed in this conguration. A fragment size analysis has been
conducted after two experiments according to Fig. 3. Very similar
distribution of fragment size is obtained, showing the deterministic
feature of the dynamic fragmentation process in ceramics under
high tensile loading rates. The Fig. 4 shows the change of fragmentation with time in a ceramic target tested under EOI test.
During the rst three microseconds, only the radial cracks due to
hoop tensile stresses are visible. Indeed, the compressive wave
travelling at 11800 m/s reaches the rear edge about 2.5ms after
impact. Cracks initiated on the rear edge are visible 3 ms after
impact. The whole fragmentation process ends less than 10 ms after
impact.
2.4. Normal impact tests conguration
The fragmentation of ceramics can also be studied by normal
impact tests. Contrary to edge-on impact tests, the cylindrical
projectile does not hit the edge of the sample but the centre of a
plane surface of the sample. In this case, the dimension of the
ceramic tile is 60  60  8 mm3. To prevent any loss of fragments, a
steel front plate is put in contact against the ceramic tile and an
aluminium alloy plate is used as backing. To keep all the

Fig. 2. Post-mortem view of the fragmented ceramic tile after EOI test.

Fig. 3. Distribution of fragments size obtained from two edge-on impact experiments
performed in open conguration (Vimpact 180 m/s).

components in place during impact, this sandwich is inserted in a


sarcophagus. In a previous work, Zinszner et al. [30] have studied
the inuence of this connement plate on the fragmentation of the
ceramic with the help of the anisotropic damage model presented
below. On the one-hand, it was shown that the use of a thin steel
plate (1 mm thick) which fully recover the ceramic tile provides a
more homogeneous fragmentation of the ceramic along the thickness than with the use of other shapes of front plate. The
aluminium backing is 6 mm in thickness. It was also shown that the
use of an initial gap of 0.1 mm between the ceramic tile and the
aluminium backing may increase the cracking density of the
ceramic due to a better reection of the compressive waves. Thus,
small pieces of steel sheet 0.1 mm thick are putted between the
ceramic and the backing to ensure a constant gap between both
plates. The Fig. 5 shows a representation of the assembly used in
the normal impact tests.
Three normal impact have been performed. Very similar damage
patterns are obtained after removing the front side of the
sarcophagus and the connement plate. Afterwards one of the
fragmented targets has been inltrated and polished to perform a
post-mortem analysis. The two other damaged targets have been
re-impacted to characterise their residual penetration resistance. In
this part, the post-mortem analysis conducted in the rst experiment is presented. The armour-piercing impact tests performed
against the two last fragmented ceramics are presented in the last
part of the paper. The Fig. 6(a) presents the post-mortem view of
the front face of the ceramic just after impact and the Fig. 6(b)
presents the post-mortem view of the rear face of the ceramic after
inltration and polishing.
One can see that the two post-mortem views present similar
trends. A large number of radial cracks is observed due to hoop
tensile stresses within the material and circular cracks are connected orthogonally to radial cracks. In the post-mortem view of
the front face, one can see that in the central part, the ceramic is not
fully damaged due to the compressive state induces by the impact.
On the central part of the rear face, the radial and circular cracks
cannot be distinguished. Indeed, the fragmentation of the material
is very intense. A cut of the sample has been performed to observe
the change of cracking density along the thickness. The postmortem view of the sample is presented in Fig. 7.
The fragmentation of the ceramic along the thickness present
similar trends compared to the damaged sample after edge-on
impact tests. Indeed, the fragmentation is very intense within the

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Fig. 4. Fragmentation process in Hexoloy SiC during impact (Vimpact 180 m/s).

cone delimited by the conical cracks. In this area, the fragmentation is also composed of radial cracks connected by orthogonal
cracks. Outside the cone, the cracking density drops and only large
fragments are visible. Using the same method than previously, the
cracking density of the ceramic target after normal impact test can
be estimated on the rear face of the damaged ceramic and along the
thickness of the sample. On the rear face, two circles centred on the
impact point are considered. The rst one is about 2.5 mm in radius
whereas the second one is about 9 mm in radius. A total number of
99 radial cracks are crossing the rst circle, corresponding to a
cracking density of about 2.8  1011 cracks/m3, whereas 142 radial
cracks are crossing the second circle. The cracking density is about
1.6  1010 cracks/m3, a conrmation that the cracking density decreases with the radius. The cracking density has also been determined in the thickness of the sample. In the rst half of the
thickness, just under the impact point, the cracking density cannot
be easily determined due to the displacement of fragments. Thus, it
has been estimated on the second half of the thickness. The estimated cracking density in this zone is about 1.5  1011 cracks/m3.
The rst conclusion is that the cracking density within the ceramic
is about one half the cracking density on the rear face. The second
conclusion is that the cracking density after normal impact test is
similar to the cracking density estimated in edge-on impact test

along the impact axis despite the difference of thickness of the


samples.
3. Numerical simulations
3.1. Anisotropic damage model
3.1.1. Quasi-static failure modelling
As observed in many brittle materials, the failure of ceramics
under quasi-static tension is due to a unique crack initiated on a
critical defect (weakest link hypothesis). The failure emanates

Fig. 5. Illustration of the assembly used in normal impact tests.

J.L. Zinszner et al. / International Journal of Impact Engineering 76 (2015) 9e19

13

Fig. 6. Post-mortem view of (a)- the front face, (b)- the rear face of the Hexoloy ceramic tile after normal impact test.

when the maximum principal stress s(x) becomes greater than the
failure stress si(x) of the defect Di. To describe this phenomenon, a
Weibull law may be used [31]. The failure probability of a loaded
volume is written as:

i
h
PF 1  exp  lt sVeff ;

(1)

with lt(s) the density of critical defect dened by:


lt s l0

s
s0

m
;

Z 
U


si x m
du;
smax

(3)

with smax the maximum principal stress in the loaded domain U.


3.1.2. Dynamic fragmentation modelling
The microscopic analysis of damage patterns of impacted ceramics have shown that the failure of ceramics in dynamic tension
is mainly due to the onset of multiple microcracks triggered on
existing defects (material porosities, sintering defects or grain
boundaries) [21]. The DFH damage model used in this work is based
on the defect obscuration phenomenon. According to this model,
the activation of a defect induces the initiation and the propagation
of an unstable crack. The release of stress in the vicinity of the
propagating crack prevents the activation of other critical defects
located in this obscuration zone. By assuming a constant crack
speed, the shape of the obscured zone V0 may be written as.

V0 T  t SVcrack T  tn ;

Vcrack kC0 :

(5)

An energetic approach of the dynamic propagation of a single


crack provided a limit value of k 0.38 [33]. In the case of a multiple fragmentation, the non-obscuration probability for a given
point M of the loaded volume is [12,21]:

0
(2)

m being the Weibull modulus, sm


0 =l0 the Weibull scale parameter of
the material. The effective volume Veff takes into account the inuence of the stress heterogeneity on the cumulative failure
probability [32]:

Veff

(e.g., Sn3 4p/3). The crack velocity is assumed to be proportional


to the wave speed C0:

(4)

where T is the current time, t is the crack inception time and S is the
shape parameter associated to the space dimension n

Pno exp@ 

ZT

1
dlt t
V0 T  tdt A:
dt

(6)

lt(s) being the density of critical defect identied in quasi-static


loading. The damage variable D, dened from the non-obscuration
probability, may also be written as the ratio between the obscured
volume and the total volume according to:
D 1  Pno z

V0
:
Vtotal

(7)

Moreover, the anisotropic damage model is built considering


one damage variable for each principal stress. Thus, the strain
tensor is related to the macroscopic stress tensor S by:

1
6
6 1  D1
6
16
6
6 n
E6
6
6
4
n

n

n

1
1  D2

n

n

1
1  D3

7
7
7
7
7
7S :
7
7
7
5

(8)

If one assumes a constant stress rate, the ultimate macroscopic


strength is given by the following analytical form:
1
m

 n 1 m n  1!mn

n
mn
1=m mn
_ mn S1=n Vcrack
Su s0 l0
s
:
m!n!
e

Fig. 7. Cross-section of the Hexoloy ceramic tile after cut under the impact point.

(9)

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J.L. Zinszner et al. / International Journal of Impact Engineering 76 (2015) 9e19

One can see that the ultimate macroscopic strength depends on


three types of parameter. The rst one is related to crack inception
(i.e., Weibull parameters), the second one is the inuence of the
loading rate and the last one is a parameter related to crack growth.
Finally, considering that new cracks are initiated outside the
obscured zones, the cracking density is derived from the following
equation:

vlcracks
vlt
Pno
:
vt
vt

(10)

3.2. Identication of material constants


One way to determine the Weibull parameters of a material
consists in performing a series of quasi-static exure tests. The
Weibull modulus and the mean failure stress can be calculated from
the results of each failure test, and the effective volume is determined from the geometry of the specimen. In this work, fourteen
four-point exure tests have been performed on Hexoloy ceramic.
In this case, the effective volume can be calculated from beam
theory and is given by:

Veff

bhl
bhL  l

;
2m 1 2m 12

(11)

where b, h denote respectively the specimen's width and height, l


and L are respectively the length between the upper and lower
supports. The Weibull modulus, which gives an indication on the
scatter in failure stresses, can be determined by plotting the socalled Weibull diagram (Fig. 8). Considering X ln(sF) and
Y ln(ln(1  PF)) with PF (i  0.5)/n (i varying between 1 and n,
with n the total number of tests), the Weibull modulus is given by a
linear interpolation Y mX B. The Weibull parameters are
gathered in Table 2. These parameters have been introduced as
input data in the damage model.
3.3. Numerical simulations of edge-on impact tests
The anisotropic damage model in the multi-scale version [20] is
implemented in the nite element code Abaqus/Explicit through a
VUMAT subroutine. It has been used to simulate edge-on impact
tests and normal impact tests. Considering two symmetry planes
(one on the thickness and one on the length), only one quarter of
the sample has been meshed. The impact velocity is set to 175 m/s
(mean experimental value) and no additional boundary conditions
are applied. The Fig. 9 gives a comparison between the cracking
density elds considering 3 different meshes. In Fig. 9(a), two mesh
sizes are considered (0.3 mm and 0.5 mm on the left hand side and
on the right hand side respectively), whereas in Fig. 9(b), the mesh
size is set to 0.3 mm but a structured mesh (left hand side) and an
unstructured mesh (right hand side) are used. Similar cracking
density elds are obtained whatever the mesh size (even if slightly
lower values of cracking density are obtained with the 0.5 mm
mesh size) and whatever the type of mesh (structured or unstructured). Thus, the mesh size and mesh orientation seem to have
a small inuence on the numerical results. The next calculations
have been conducted with a 0.3 mm structured mesh.
In this part, the numerical results are compared to the experimental results in term of damage eld or cracking density eld. The
damage eld is compared to experimental data given by the Shimadzu camera for the ve rst microseconds and the cracking
density eld after 5 ms is compared to the post-mortem observation
given by the sarcophagus conguration. One can observe in Fig. 10
that the damage front predicted by the numerical simulation is
consistent with the experimental results.

Fig. 8. Weibull diagram of Hexoloy ceramic and dimensions of the four-point exure
tests.

Moreover, we can observe that all types of cracks are well represented. Indeed, during the rst two microseconds, the damaged
zone predicted is only due to radial cracks and conical cracks and,
from the third microsecond after impact, damage due to reected
waves appears. The last picture in Fig. 10 shows that the sample is
intensively damaged principally near the impact point and along
the impact axis, where the cracking density reached the maximum
value.
In Fig. 11, the cracking density predicted by the numerical
simulation is compared to the post-mortem view of the damaged
sample obtained after edge-on impact in sarcophagus
conguration.
On part 2.2, the experimental cracking density has been determined in two zones. In the rst zone, located in the vicinity of the
impact axis, the cracking density varies between 8  109 and
2  1011 cracks/m3. In the same zone, the numerical simulation
predicts a cracking density varying mainly between 1  1010 and
1  1012 cracks/m3. In the second region, the cracking density is
lower. It varies between 5  109 and 2  1010 cracks/m3. Numerically, the cracking density is ranging from 1  109 and 1  1010
cracks/m3. A quite good correlation is obtained between experimental results and numerical predictions. Moreover, as predicted
by the numerical simulations, far from the impact point (excepted
along the impact axis), the cracking density drops and only large
fragments are visible. The numerical results of damage eld and
cracking density eld given by the anisotropic damage model are
consistent with the experimental results obtained after edge-on
impact test. In the next part, the numerical results given by the
model are compared to the experimental results from the normal
impact test.
3.4. Numerical simulations of normal impact tests
In the numerical simulations of normal impact tests, the rear
plate and the lateral parts of the sarcophagus are not considered.
The lateral faces of the ceramic sample are considered as free
(cardboards had been used during the experiments to inhibit the
inuence of the sarcophagus). A quarter of the volume is meshed.

Table 2
Weibull parameters of Hexoloy obtained in the present study.

Hexoloy

Weibull modulus

Mean failure stress (MPa)

Effective
volume (mm3)

8.97

445.9

8.33

J.L. Zinszner et al. / International Journal of Impact Engineering 76 (2015) 9e19

15

Fig. 9. Inuence of the mesh size and mesh orientation on the eld of cracking density 5 ms after impact. (a) Inuence of the mesh size (0.3 mm and 0.5 mm on the left hand side
and on the right hand side respectively). (b) Inuence of the mesh orientation (0.3 mm structured mesh on the left hand side and 0.3 mm unstructured mesh on the right hand
side).

As for edge-on impact tests, a mesh size analysis was performed


with mesh sizes ranging from 0.3 mm to 0.5 mm. Again a small
mesh size inuence was observed. The impact velocity is set to
175 m/s. The cracking density eld given by the numerical simulation is compared to the post-mortem view of the rear face and of a
lateral face of the ceramic sample. As observed experimentally, the
cracking density predicted by the damage model decreases with
the radius. In addition, we can distinguish three different zones.
The rst one, located within a radius of 7.5 mm, is characterised by
an intense fragmentation. The second one, with a radius in between
7.5 mm and 12 mm, is a transition zone. The fragmentation is
intense but radial cracks and orthogonal cracks can be observed.
Outside this transition zone, the cracking density drops. These
three regions (delimited by the red dashed lines) are well predicted
by the numerical simulation (Fig. 12). A comparison between the
cracking density calculated experimentally and the cracking density predicted by the numerical simulation is proposed for the two
rst regions. In the rst region, located in the vicinity of the impact
point, the cracking density has been evaluated around 2.8  1011
cracks/m3. In the same region, the cracking density given by the
numerical simulation is ranging from 1  1010 and 1  1012 cracks/
m3. In the second region, considering a radius of 9 mm, the cracking
density is evaluated around 1.6  1010 cracks/m3. In this region, the
cracking density predicted by the damage model is mainly ranging
from 109 to 1011 cracks/m3.
A comparison is now proposed between the cross-section of the
ceramic and the cracking density predicted numerically. In the part
2.4, the cracking density has been estimated along the thickness
below the impact point and is about 1.5  1011 cracks/m3. In the

same zone, the numerical simulation predicts a cracking density


ranging from 1  1010 to 1  1012 cracks/m3 (Fig. 13). Moreover, one
can observe that the numerical simulation predicts an intense
fragmentation inside the cone and a low fragmentation outside,
which is consistent with experimental observations. The size of the
cone is also well predicted.
The cracking densities predicted by the damage model are quite
similar to the cracking densities calculated from post-mortem observations in all the types of impact tests, on the rear face or along
the thickness. In the case of the edge-on impact test in open
conguration, the growth of damage is well represented by the
model, showing the aptitude of the model to reproduce the various
types of cracking observed experimentally.
4. Armour-piercing impact tests on pre-fragmented ceramic
In order to analyse the residual behaviour of the fragmented
ceramic and to construct numerical model predicting the behaviour
of the fragmented ceramic, an original impact test has been
developed. After the normal impact test, the front side of the
sarcophagus is removed as well as the connement plate. In this
test, a conical nose projectile 18.3 mm in length and with the same
mass than the previous cylindrical projectile is used. The interaction
between the projectile and the ceramic is lmed with the ultra-high
speed camera and the free surface velocity of the aluminium
backing is recorded with the help of a laser extensometer. The interframe time is set to 8 ms. Two impact tests have been performed on
damaged Hexoloy. In order to suppress the inuence of the Teon
guiding sabot on the penetration of the projectile, the sabot has

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J.L. Zinszner et al. / International Journal of Impact Engineering 76 (2015) 9e19

Fig. 10. Comparison between the fragmentation observed by means of the ultra-high speed camera and the damage eld given by the calculation.

been removed in the course of the projectile thanks to a perforated


plate. The experimental setup is detailed in Fig. 14.
One can see in Fig. 15 that the sabot stripper works and the
conical nose projectile impacts the damaged ceramic with an
acceptable angle.

During the rst millisecond after impact, only the fragments in


the vicinity of the projectile (very little fragments) are ejected.
Moreover, 88 ms after impact, the projectile is stopped by the
fragments and backtracks. A second impact test was performed
with a second prefragmented target and both curves in Fig. 17 show

Fig. 11. Comparison between the post-mortem view of the fragmented ceramic after EOI test and the cracking density eld 5 ms after impact.

J.L. Zinszner et al. / International Journal of Impact Engineering 76 (2015) 9e19

17

Fig. 12. Comparison between the post-mortem view of the rear face of the fragmented ceramic after normal impact test and the cracking density eld 5 ms after impact.

Fig. 13. Comparison between the cross-section of the fragmented ceramic after normal impact test and the cracking density eld 5 ms after impact (the legend is the same than in
Fig. 12).

a remarkable reproducibility.Another armour-piercing impact test


has been performed without any ceramic, against an aluminium
alloy backing, in order to compare the penetration resistance with
and without the fragmented ceramic as front face. The conguration of the shot is the same than in the previous test (conical nose
projectile). The interaction between the projectile and the
aluminium alloy backing is shown in Fig. 16.
The lm shows that the projectile is stopped about 72 ms after
impact, before rebound. The Fig. 17 compares the free surface

velocity of the backing for both congurations (with and without


fragmented ceramic as front face). The curves are shifted to reach
the velocity of 1 m/s at the origin of time. One can see that the
shapes of the curves are different depending on the conguration.
In the case of the use of fragmented Hexoloy as front face, the
velocity quickly rises at the beginning and rises more slowly after a
few tens of microseconds. In the case of the aluminium curve, it
slowly rises at the very beginning and quickly rises after a few
microseconds.

Fig. 14. Experimental setup used in the armour-piercing impact tests.

Fig. 15. Ultra-high speed camera pictures of the armour-piercing impact on fragmented Hexoloy (shot #1).

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J.L. Zinszner et al. / International Journal of Impact Engineering 76 (2015) 9e19

Fig. 16. Ultra-high speed camera pictures of the armour-piercing impact on the aluminium alloy backing.

fragmented ceramic. These tests have shown an important residual behaviour of the ceramic during the rst microseconds after
impact. These results should be used in a future work to validate a
model describing the dynamic behaviour of the fragmented
ceramic.
Acknowledgements
This work has been performed with the nancial support of the
CEA (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission)
and of the DGA (French General Delegation for Armament) and was
sponsored by Saint-Gobain CREE. The support of these organisations is gratefully acknowledged.
References
Fig. 17. Comparison of the free surface velocities at the rear face of the aluminium
alloy backing in different congurations of armour-piercing impact tests.

These curves demonstrate that the fragmented Hexoloy presents an important residual resistance in the rst microseconds of
impact. Moreover, both curves obtained with Hexoloy ceramic
show the deterministic behaviour of the fragmented ceramic under
impact. This experimental conguration should be used in a future
work to build a model describing the dynamic behaviour of a
fragmented ceramic.
5. Conclusions
In this work, different impact congurations have been developed to characterise the dynamic fragmentation of a commercial
silicon carbide grade, named Hexoloy. Among these congurations, edge-on impact tests and normal impact tests have been
performed on a sarcophagus conguration, allowing to recover a
fragmented ceramic after impact without any loss of fragments.
Post-mortem analyses have shown the intense fragmentation of
the ceramic ahead the impact point (cracking density about 1011
cracks per cubic metre) despite the quite low impact velocity
(175 m/s). Moreover, a cross-section of the damaged sample after
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damage model. These comparisons have shown a good capacity of
the model to predict damage patterns and cracking densities in
different regions of the target and also the growth of damage in the
sample during impact. In the last part, a new tandem conguration is proposed by applying a second impact to the pre-

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