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An Experimental Evaluation of Composite Enclosures for Explosive Reactive Armor



Explosive reactive armor requires a rugged, energy absorbing enclosure for effective integration onto a vehicle. The enclosure both protects the armor materials from environmental exposure and reduces the collateral damage during a ballistic event by controlling the effects of the ensuing blast. The current baseline design of a reactive armor enclosure on a combat vehicle is constructed from stainless steel and is excessively heavy, adding significant integration weight to a combat class vehicle. U.S. Army Tank- Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC) performed extensive testing on fiber composite enclosures in an effort to reduce weight. The method used for evaluating the enclosures required statically detonating a representative blast load in an enclosure and evaluating the structural integrity of the neighboring enclosures. Enclosures constructed of two-dimensional fiber laminates and three-dimensional woven preforms were tested. The results have shown that very significant weight reduction is attainable using composites.

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