Numerical and experimental investigations into ballistic performance of hybrid fabric panels

Xiaogang Chen, Yi Zhou, Garry Wells

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Strong, low density fibres have been favoured materials for ballistic protection, but the choice of fibres is limited for making body armour that is both protective and lightweight. In addition to developments of improved fibres, alternative approaches are required for creating more protective and lighter body armour. This paper reports on a study on hybrid fabric panels for ballistic protection. The Finite Element (FE) method was used to predict the response of different layers of fabric in a twelve-layer fabric model upon impact. It was found that the front layers of fabric are more likely to be broken in shear, and the rear layers of fabric tend to fail in tension. This suggested that using shear resistant materials for the front layer and tensile resistant materials for the rear layer may improve the ballistic performance of fabric panels. Two types of structure, ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) woven and unidirectional (UD) materials, were analyzed for their failure mode and response upon ballistic impact by using both FE and experimental methods. It was found that woven structures exhibit better shear resistance and UD structures gives better tensile resistance and wider transverse deflection upon ballistic impact. Two types of hybrid ballistic panels were designed from the fabrics. The experimental results showed that placing woven fabrics close to the impact face and UD material as the rear layers led to better ballistic performance than the panel constructed in the reverse sequence. It has also been found that the optimum ratio of woven to UD materials in the hybrid ballistic panel was 1:3. The improvement in ballistic protection of the hybrid fabric panels allows less material to be used, leading to lighter weight body armour.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)35-42
    Number of pages7
    JournalComposites. Part B: Engineering
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2014


    • A. Fabrics/textiles; C. Numerical analysis; A. Hybrid; B. Impact behaviour; UHMWPE fibre


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