Physics of Soldier Protection for Defeat of Evolving Threats (POSP)

Objective
Protection overmatch against future threats: Future intelligent and adaptive protective systems
• What mechanisms can be used to manipulate material systems during ballistic impact?
• How can ballistic impact damage at multiple scales be modeled computationally?
• What chemistries, microstructures, and processing approaches will lead to ultra-hard materials that exceed the ballistic performance of traditional ballistic protection?

Research Questions
Can the dynamic failure of ultra-hard material systems be manipulated to resist ballistic perforation by evolving threats?

  1. New materials: What chemistries, microstructures, and processing approaches will lead to ultra-hard materials that exceed the ballistic performance of traditional ceramics used for ballistic protection?
    • What aspects of macro-, micro-, and meso-structure influence dynamic crack initiation and propagation and how can those aspects be manipulated to significantly alter dynamic fracture response?
    • How can the hardness-toughness paradigm for ceramic materials be disrupted?
    • Can additive manufacturing techniques be used to produce a fully densified ballistic grade ceramic material and to introduce features that control and manipulate dynamic damage?
    • Is there a way to introduce high threshold stress (> 5 GPa), inelastic deformation mechanisms?
  2. Modeling and Simulation: How can ballistic impact damage at multiple length scales for brittle material systems be modeled computationally?
    • How can the statistical distribution of defects be consistently represented as fracture nucleation sites?
    • How can heterogeneous lower length scale fracture models be used effectively in multi-scale simulations?
    • How can a computed fracture field be quantified statistically to provide measures of fracture severity?
    • What are the critical mechanisms to include in a ceramics fracture model and how can it be validated?
  3. Ballistic Damage Characterization and Mitigation: What mechanisms can be used to manipulate wave propagation and damage evolution in brittle material systems during ballistic impact?
    • What mechanisms can be used to manipulate stress and shock wave propagation through monolithic and layered materials?
    • Can a material sense its internal state of stress, strain, or damage and react in a manner to alter the internal state?
    • Can the stress-induced phase change known for certain materials significantly alter dynamic crack initiation and propagation?
    • What underlying aspects of ceramic materials leads to inherent variability in ballistic performance and how can this be controlled or minimized?
    • What time-resolved, in-situ diagnostic techniques can be developed and applied to understand microstructural evolution, damage, and fracture during extreme dynamic conditions including shock, impact and transient high-pressure states?
    • How does the defect field and residual stress field affect crack nucleation and propagation

Technologies to protect dismounted Soldiers from pacing and emerging small caliber ammunition threats**Protection Overmatch**

World-wide advances and proliferation of small caliber ammunition with increasing levels of performance will require dismounted Soldier protection technologies that embody new materials and mechanisms that are lightweight and can be transitioned into hard plate body armor systems.
Focus Areas:

  1. New Materials
    • Exquisite multi-scaled synthesis and manufacturing of sophisticated materials and systems to manipulate dynamic failure processes
  2. Modeling and Simulation
    • Truly predictive and efficient multi-scaled models for enhanced armor design (materials and mechanisms)
    • Computational tools at relevant length scales that capture deformation and failure of materials3.Ballistic Damage Characterization and Mitigation
    • Technologies that passively or actively manipulate the failure of the system through novel materials and/or system design
    • Develop materials with awareness of their condition and the ability to adapt to maintain their intended capability
    • Characterization, and diagnostics of failure at appropriate spatial and temporal scales