Integral armor concepts are of primary interest to armored vehicles requiring ballistic protection. A composite integral armor provides multi-interface, multi-functional capability, easy reparability, quick deployment, enhanced ballistic performance and lightweight advantages. The typical design of integral armor is seen to utilize a combination of thick section S2-glass vinyl ester structural composite, alumina, ceramic tiles, resilient rubber, fire retardant, phenolic layer and several signature/functional layers. Thick composite laminate serves as the primary load-bearing component of the integral armor used in the upper hull of a Composite Armored Vehicle (CAV). Current solution of the structural laminate (typically 0.8” thick) comprises an S2-glass/epoxy automated fiber placed laminate. Currently used processing techniques such as automated fiber placement prove to be costly and time consuming.
In the current study, several alternative cost-effective processing solutions are employed. They include Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM) and Vacuum Assisted Resin Infusion Molding (VARI) and their variations. Both VARTM and VARI use low viscosity resins, however, the consolidation conditions that the laminate undergoes are significantly different Composite laminates are made using 45 layer of 2 × 2 twill weave S2-glass with 933 sizing /vinyl ester C-50 resin. Effectiveness of the different fabrication methods is compared in terms of the compression behavior of the laminates. Both static as well as high strain rate test using Split Hopkinson’s bar technique are studied.