A Ceramic Damage Model for Analyses of Multi-Layered Ceramic-Core Sandwich Panels Under Blast Wave Pressure Loading

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A damage model for ceramic materials is developed and incorporated into the geometrically nonlinear solid shell element formulation for dynamic analyses of multi-layered ceramic armor panels under blast wave pressure loading. The damage model takes into account material behaviors observed from multi-axial dynamic tests on Aluminum Nitride (AlN) ceramic. The ceramic fails in a brittle or gradual fashion, depending upon the hydrostatic pressure and applied strain-rate. In the model, the gradual failure is represented by two states: the initial and final failure states. These states are described by two separate failure surfaces that are pressure-dependent and strain-rate-dependent. A scalar damage parameter is defined via using the two failure surfaces, based on the assumption that the local stress state determines material damage and its level. In addition, the damage model accounts for the effect of existing material damage on the new damage.

The multi-layered armor panel of interest is comprised of an AlN-core sandwich with unidirectional composite skins and a woven composite back-plate. To accommodate the material damage effect of composite layers, a composite failure model in the open literature is adopted and modified into two separate failure models to address different failure mechanisms of the unidirectional and woven composites. In addition, the effect of strain-rates on the material strengths is incorporated into the composite failure models.

For finite element modeling, multiple eighteen-node elements are used in the thickness direction to properly describe mechanics of the multi-layered panel. Dynamic analyses of a multi-layered armor panel are conducted under blast wave pressure loadings. The resulting dynamic responses of the panel demonstrate that dynamic analyses that do not take into account material damage and failure significantly under-predict the peak displacement. The under-prediction becomes more pronounced as the blast load level increases. Numerical analyses also indicate that the multi-layered armor design, while tailored for penetration resistance, performs poorly against blast shock wave. An alternative design is proposed and its performance is compared with the original design. Computational modeling of the fundamental material behaviors of ceramics would help expanding the use of ceramics to other structural applications, via enabling designers to efficiently explore design options.