Secondary Debris Testing for Light Weight Textile


12 March 2024 13h30-14h30

by Dr Ir Angel Miranda-Vicario

Body armour systems, like bullet-resistant vests or fragment-resistant helmets, are tested extensively according to different norms and standards before being introduced for service, in order to ensure these systems can provide the required level of protection. Typical tests include the shooting of regular bullets and Fragment Simulating projectiles (FSP’s) on body armour systems to evaluate their ballistic limit and the risk on behind-armour blunt trauma. Whereas historically the classical fragmentation threat (coming from bombs, artillery grenades, etc.) was the largest threat, the threat spectrum in recent conflicts has shifted. By far the main threat in current conflicts is the Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Although at short stand-off mainly primary blast injuries (to air-containing organs, like lungs or bowels) are observed among bystanders, at larger distances secondary fragments and ejected soil particles (for buried or surface IEDs) are the main cause for injuries. Although seldom lethal, injuries caused by these secondary fragments and soil particles pose a heavy burden on the medical chain, as they are often difficult to detect, difficult to remove and in almost all cases lead to long-term contamination issues of the injury site.

Unfortunately, the current standards and norms for the testing and evaluation of body armour do not provide for any means to assess the actual protective level of such equipment, as no threat surrogate currently exists. The goal of this research project is hence to develop a methodology to test this kind of threat, able to reliably mimic the actual threat (up to a certain level), but also be adapted to use in a laboratory or testing environment.

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