Ballistic Impact Performance of Three-Dimensional Woven Composites
Ballistic impact performance of 3D woven aerospace composites was evaluated in a collaboration between Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and Albany Engineered Composites (AEC). 3D woven preforms were manufactured with IM7 carbon fiber and injected with PR520 epoxy resin using a resin transfer molding (RTM) process. For comparison, a 2D laminated composite was manufactured from non-crimp fabric (NCF) using the same epoxy and injection processes. 7.62 mm (.30 caliber) fragment simulating projectiles (FSPs) were used to determine both the ballistic limits of the composites as well as the performance during secondary (repeated) impacts near the initial impact. Composites with 3D woven fiber reinforcement inherently do not experience any delamination and exhibit different failure behavior during impact events when compared to traditional 2D composites. This is due to the through-the-thickness fiber interlocking in the 3D woven preform and lack of distinct resin layers (lamina). Damage areas surrounding impact regions for both 3D and 2D composites were examined using micro-computed tomography. Measurements from targets after ballistic impact testing have shown that the 3D woven composite target resulted in nearly 70 % smaller damage area after both initial impact and secondary impacts when compared with a 2D laminated baseline composite.
Author: Kyle Warren
Conference: SAMPE Seattle 2017