The deformation fields and kinematics of woven composite material systems due to impact loads are analyzed and characterized for various structural parameters. Target plates comprised of woven composites with 3D preforms are considered. The analysis examines fully consolidated as well as cellular systems and simulates actual experiments. Solution of the nonlinear dynamic/contact problem was obtained by a meso-mechanics based finite element model. The results quantify experimental observations, which reveal distinct behavior under impact among nonporous and porous systems. It was found that wave propagation effects at incident energies in the order of 500 J are significant and lead to penetration at the impact face. Localized shear damage in the 3D woven system precede penetration in both the nonporous and the porous systems. The porous system is capable of dissipating more energy prior to penetration due to containment of local damage, which emanates from the void boundaries, within subsurface locations.

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