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Scaling the Projectile Perforation Resistance of Soft Materials



Katherine Evans, Shawn Chen, Amanda Souna, Stephan J. Stranick, Christopher Soles, Edwin P. Chan


From space dust to ballistic impact, controlling or mitigating a high velocity projectile impact event is a desirable outcome. The design and development of new and novel impact mitigating materials are greatly hindered by the use of macroscale projectile tests that requires large quantities of materials for evaluation. With the recent emergence of high-speed microprojectile impact tests, there is growing optimism that these microscale ballistic measurements can increase the rate of discovery of new materials with improved performance. Feeding this optimism are several examples where these microballistic studies have identified novel nanomaterial strategies that seem to outperform state-of-the-art impact mitigating materials. However, there is a dire need to improve our understanding of puncture resistance of materials at the nano- and microscale to the actual performance at the macroscale. Here, we combine dimensional analysis and experimental data from micro- and macroscale ballistics tests to develop a quantitative relationship that connects the size-scale effects and materials properties during high velocity puncture events. By relating the minimum perforation velocity to materials- and geometry-defined properties, we establish a new methodology for evaluating the impact mitigating performance of materials independent of the impact energy or experiment type. We demonstrate the utility of this approach in evaluating the relevance of novel materials such as nanocomposites and graphene for real-world impact applications.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


impact mitigation, puncture mechanics, microprojectile impact test, polymeric materials


Evans, K. , Chen, S. , Souna, A. , Stranick, S. , Soles, C. and Chan, E. (2023), Scaling the Projectile Perforation Resistance of Soft Materials, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, [online], (Accessed May 22, 2024)


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Created June 29, 2023, Updated July 28, 2023