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Thermo-Rheological Characterization on Next-Generation Backing Materials for Body Armour Testing



Ran Tao, Aaron M. Forster, Kirk D. Rice, Randy A. Mrozek, Shawn T. Cole, Reygan M. Freeney


The current standard backing material used for ballistic resistance testing of body armour, Roma Plastilina No. 1 (RP1), is known to exhibit complex thermomechanical behavior under actual usage conditions. Body armour test standards that specify RP1 often establish a performance requirement for the RP1 before it can be used. To meet this requirement, RP1 most likely must be temperature conditioned. This conditioning step adds to the complexity of the test and introduces temperature-time variables into the test, which serve as incentives for finding potential alternative materials that perform similarly at room temperature. To achieve the goal of replacing the current standard backing material, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center (ATC) have taken the lead to develop a family of room-temperature backing materials that exhibit dynamic properties that are consistent and similar to temperature- conditioned RP1. These candidate materials, named ARTIC, have fewer components than the RP1 clay. The research at NIST focuses on rheological characterization and thermal analysis of these next-generation backing materials to understand structure-property relationships and compare to the current RP1. In this work, we show that ARTIC materials exhibit minimal temperature dependence of mechanical properties and consistent thermal properties over a wide temperature range.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of The Personal Armour Systems Symposium 2018
Conference Dates
October 1-5, 2018
Conference Location
Washington DC, US
Conference Title
Personal Armour Systems Symposium


ballistic witness materials, rheology, thermal properties, mechanical characterization, standard materials, body armor testing


Tao, R. , Forster, A. , Rice, K. , Mrozek, R. , Cole, S. and Freeney, R. (2018), Thermo-Rheological Characterization on Next-Generation Backing Materials for Body Armour Testing, Proceedings of The Personal Armour Systems Symposium 2018, Washington DC, US, [online], (Accessed June 18, 2024)


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Created October 25, 2018, Updated April 14, 2022