Loughborough University
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Establishing design characteristics for the development of stab resistant Laser Sintered body armour

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posted on 2015-02-16, 16:33 authored by Andrew Johnson
Stab resistant body armour had been used throughout history, with examples ranging from animal hide construction to the moulded Polycarbonate units typically used by United Kingdom (UK) Police Officers. Such protective articles have historically, and continue to present a number of issues which have shown to impair the operational performance of its wearer including but not exclusive to poor thermal regulation, large masses, and reduced manoeuvrability. A number of developments have been made in an attempt to minimise the effects of such issues. One potential solution yet to be fully explored is the utilisation of Additive Manufacturing (AM) technologies. In recent years the use of such manufacturing technologies, particularly Laser Sintering, has successfully demonstrated their suitability for a range of high performance applications ranging from Formula 1® to aerospace. Due to the fundamental additive nature of AM build processes, the utilisation of such technologies have facilitated the realisation of design concepts that are typically too expensive, difficult or impossible to create using traditional manufacturing processes. In order for AM technologies to be used for the generation of stab resistant body armour a number of historical issues and performance characteristics fundamental to ensure stab resistance is achieved must be satisfied. This body of research firstly evaluated the stab resistive performance of two of the most common materials suitable for Laser Sintering as highlighted by an initial review of AM technologies. Once an appropriate material had been highlighted it was used as the basis for further experimental testing. Such tests focussed on minimising the material thickness required to maintain an appropriate level of stab resistance within United Kingdom Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB) KR1-E1 requirement of 24 Joules of stab impact energy. Test results demonstrated that specimens manufactured from Duraform EX® required a minimum single layer thickness of 11.00 mm, and a dual layer total thickness of 9.00 mm to provide an appropriate level of stab protection within the HOSDB KR1-E1 standard. Coupled with the results generated from an investigation identifying the overlapping/imbricated assembly angle required to maintain an appropriate level of coverage across a scale structure, the stab resistant characteristics initially identified were used for the development of an imbricated scale-like assembly. Additional design features were also investigated to further minimise the total thickness of the final element design and corresponding assembled imbricated structure such features included angling strike surfaces and integrating a dual layered structure within individual elements. When the finalised imbricated assemblies were stab tested, they successfully demonstrated levels of stab resistance to the UK HOSDB KR1-E1 impact energy of 24 Joules.





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© Andrew Allan Johnson

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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