Experimental and numerical results of drop weight impact test are presented, on the plastic behaviour and fracture of rectangular plates stuck laterally by a mass with a hemispherical indenter. Six specimens were tested in order to study the influence of the impact velocity and the diameter of the indenter. The impact scenarios could represent abnormal actions on marine structures, such as ship collision and grounding or dropped objects on deck structures. The tests are conducted on a fully instrumented impact tester machine. The obtained force-displacement response is compared with numerical simulations, performed by the LS-DYNA finite element solver. The simulations aim at proposing techniques for defining the material and restraints on finite element models which analyze the crashworthiness of marine structures. The mesh size and the critical failure strain are predicted by numerical simulations of the tensile tests used to obtain the mechanical properties of the material. The experimental boundary conditions are modelled in order to represent the reacting forces developed during the impact. The results show that the critical impact energy until failure is strongly sensitive to the diameter of the striker. The shape of the failure modes is well predicted by the finite element models when a relatively fine mesh is used. Comments on the process of initiation and propagation of fracture are presented.

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