Experimental and numerical results of drop weight impact tests are presented, examining the plastic response and the crack initiation and propagation of small-scale clamped rectangular aluminium plates laterally impacted by different indenter shapes. The experiments are conducted using a fully instrumented impact testing machine. The shape of the deformation of the specimens and the process of initiation and propagation of the material fracture is presented. The obtained force-displacement responses show a good agreement with the simulations performed by the LS-DYNA finite element solver. The strain hardening of the material is defined using experimental data of quasi-static tensile tests and the critical failure strain is evaluated measuring the thickness and the width at fracture of the tensile test pieces. The results show that the absorbed energy to perforate the specimens is highly sensitive to the shape of the striker. Thus, the crack propagation for each striker type is analysed in terms of the force-displacement response. The failure modes are described by the matrix of the infinitesimal strain tensors and the shape of the deformation of the failing elements.

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