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High-Performance Computing Enabled Ballistic Armor and Underbody Blast Protection

Tarek Zohdi, University of California, Berkeley
Raju Namburu, Army Research Laboratory
Sikhanda Satapathy, Army Research Laboratory
Stephen Bilyk, Army Research Laboratory
Ramakrishna Valisetty, Army Research Laboratory

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is one of the primary causes of long term disability for the modern soldier. Improving the foam liners in the helmets used on the battlefield can reduce the risk of TBI to U.S. Soldiers.  The objective of this research is the development of computational models for enhanced blast protection of soldiers using ballistic fabric.  Computer simulation of textiles is difficult due to multiple size scales present in such materials. These materials require special simulation techniques to achieve computational efficiency and fidelity to the properties of their microstructural fibers. Furthermore, in collaboration with ARL staff, these principles have been applied to helmet design.  Investigation of the behavior of foams by the development of high-performance numerical simulation comprised of a direct computation of the literally millions of beams that describe a foam, in order to provide better protection

for war-fighters. Modern composites (fabric and foam) used in military helmets have become extremely effective at preventing death from impacting objects.

While the helmets prevent open-head wounds and increase survivability, formally hidden injuries due to such incidents have become more common. TBI is caused by the transfer of momentum and energy from the helmet to the wearer's brain. The current foam padding system, while effective, permits certain wave types to propagate through the foam with minimal diffusion.  In an attempt to improve protection, the AHPCRC team has conducted:

1.     Image Analysis of the Team Wendy foam pads used in GENTEX Advanced Combat Helmets

2.     Basic Geometry formation of the foam micro-structure

3.     Preliminary dynamic simulations of the rapid loading of the foam microstructure. 

Preliminary results show good agreement with experimental results, and other porous material simulations.

Figure 1: Fibril weave in various stain states. (Top-Left) Initial configuration of fibers, yet to relax to a natural configurations. (Top-Right) Fibers after relaxation, used as initial conditions for all other experiments. (Bottom-Left) Fibers’ stress state in uniaxial extension. (Bottom-Right) Fibers’ stress state in simple shear. In last two states increased fiber contact can be observed, leading to changes in bulk electrical and thermal properties.