Quantitative Gap Measurement in Ceramic Armor Arrays

Report No. ARL-TR-5303
Authors: Seth Ghiorse, Ashiq A. Quabili, Renée Schoch, William E. Fallon, and R.J. Sciortino
Date/Pages: September 2010; 40 pages
Abstract: In order to reduce weight while maintaining ballistic performance, modern armored vehicles often use ceramic-based armor solutions. Ceramic solutions are typically made of a close-fitting periodic array of ceramic tiles, maintaining a specific gap dimension between the tiles. The gap separation distance is critical to the ballistic performance of the system and it is important to have a reliable means of quantitative inspection. This report presents results of a study of a non-destructive quantitative X-ray gap width measurement method commonly used to measure and inspect array gaps. It was found that this X-ray method gives a good portrayal of array quality and gap widths, but that gap measurement accuracy likely can be improved. The X-ray method was found to skew gap width measurements higher, between 2 and 20%, and was dependent on image blur. An X-ray system designed specifically for gap measurement will significantly improve measurement accuracy. Obtaining such a system is recommended, with digital X-ray radiography being the preferred path forward.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2010