Advances in 3D printing technology and their increasing availability have allowed for design of novel structures. For designing material systems and structures that crumple to absorb energy from low-velocity impact events, the wide variability in material selection and geometry presents an attractive opportunity to optimize their performance. In the present study, 3D printed structures using high stiffness polymer were produced with a UV stereolithographic process. The structures utilized curved cylindrical columns of varying diameters, whose axial geometries were prescribed with a normal distribution equation, allowing for adjustments in the load absorption profile. The columns were arranged in a circular pattern, with four layers of reinforcements with a slight differential in heights to create cascading failure events. A polyurethane matrix keeps the structures together during impact. The systems, with varying rod geometry, rod curvature, and rod diameters were tested with both quasi-static compression testing and dynamic impact testing. The preliminary results are presented. Force-displacement curves were measured were to determine the optimal design which yields the best failure characteristics. Finite element analysis using ANSYS was used to model the failure characteristics and inform the design of the physical system.

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