Computer hydrocode analyses and ballistic testing have been used to investigate the effectiveness of steel plate armor against lead/copper bullets commonly available in the U.S. and across the world. Hydrocode simulations accurately predict the steel plate thickness that will prevent full penetration as well as the impact crater geometry (depth and diameter) in that thickness of steel armor for a 338 caliber bullet. Using the hydrocode model developed for steel armor, studies were also done for an armor consisting of a combination of Kevlar® and steel. These analyses were used to design the experiments carried out in the ballistics lab at Sandia National Laboratories. Ballistics lab testing resulted in a very good comparison between the hydrocode computer predictions for bullet impact craters in the steel plate armor and those measured during testing. During the experiments with the combination armor (Kevlar®/steel), the steel became a witness plate for bullet impact craters following penetration of the Kevlar®. Using the bullet impact craters in the steel witness plate it was determined that hydrocode predictions for Kevlar® armor are less accurate than for metals. This discrepancy results from the inability of the hydrocode (Eulerian) material model to accurately represent the behavior of the fibrous Kevlar®. Thus, this paper will present the hydrocode predictions and ballistics lab data for the interaction between a lead/copper bullet and several armoring schemes: 1) steel, 2) Kevlar®, and 3) a Kevlar®/steel combination.

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