June 12, 2012

Defence Industry Innovations from DSM Dyneema

See our Special Report on Next Generation Ballistic Protection Armor at: http://www.dyneema.com/defenceindustryreports

Dyneema® is an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) invented and produced by DSM Dyneema. The material offers a unique range of properties, combining extremely low weight with outstanding strength to provide greater protection against a growing number of ballistic threats. Both Dyneema® fiber and unidirectional (UD) material are specified for the protection of vehicles around the world.

Typically, vehicle protection systems are required to counter a number of threats: EFPs, IEDs, RPGs and/or road side bombs. Of specific importance is the performance in case of Kinetic Energy (KE). This can vary from a standard 9mm handgun, to rifles like 7.62x54mm Dragunov with B.32 API armored piercing ammunition, to the larger systems such as 14.5mm x 115, all the way to vehicle mounted systems 25mm x 137 APDS and beyond. NATO has classified this protection into the STANAG 4569 AEP 55 volume 1 standard. For floor protection against mine threats, Volume 2 with different levels is used.

Building on its latest developments in polyethylene technology, DSM Dyneema has recently introduced Dyneema® as an ingredient material in a number of customer innovations to increase protection,as conditions and threats are evolving.

Aircraft Solutions

In the aerospace industry weight savings are of the utmost importance. Advanced protection of occupants is therefore sometimes impossible due to the weight addition of such protection kits. Being able to provide protection with low weight is therefore the only viable solution for the aerospace industry.

TenCate Aerospace division has introduced a customized ballistic TenCate Advanced Armour protection solution for aircraft applications. This highly specialized integrated armor solution contains Dyneema® HB26 to deliver the absolute lowest weight for aircrafts.

Aircrafts operating in the range of rifle ammunition must be able to withstand shots from about 100 meters distance. The floor and other parts most be capable of stopping 7,62 x 51mm Nato Ball ammunition or 7,62 x 39mm AK47 Mild Steel Core ammunition. These bullets travel at speeds around 740-850m/s. Dyneema® UHMWPE is capable of stopping such threats at areal densities of approximately 17kg/m2, whereas conventional steel protection would require areal densities of over 42kg/m2 to stop these threats at muzzle velocity. Therefore, a weight reduction of about 60% can be achieved by solutions with Dyneema®, being considerably better than other composites.

Besides ballistic protection, there are specific (heavy) aerospace requirements to fulfill, such as FAR25.853, a specific aerospace flammability requirement, which can be met with such solutions with Dyneema®.

Consolidated Dyneema® panels exhibit good mechanical properties, making it also possible to equip helicopters with ballistic floors containing UHMWPE Dyneema® material, engineered in such a way that they will also meet required load bearing capacity as prescribed by aerospace engineers.

Existing helicopter armor solutions with Dyneema® include various military and police end-users, such as the H-47, H-53, and H-60 helicopter types.

Vehicle Solutions

Dyneema® BT10 is a 100 percent polyethylene solution. It is generally well-known in the armor industry that UHMWPE has outstanding ballistic performance. Less well-known is the fact that UHMWPE material is non-reactive to chemicals and fluids. It is therefore a very good material choice when the armor has to meet severe secondary properties.

A good example of a vehicle solution is one recently announced by Rheinmetall-Verseidag GmbH.  Dyneema® BT10 tape was selected for a large international vehicle program to be an ingredient in spall liners to be supplied to an undisclosed OEM. Rheinmetall-Verseidag selected a Dyneema® based liner as it was able to deliver a 40% weight reduction, whilst still able to provide identical ballistic and secondary properties.

The Dyneema® BT10 was selected for this application after being qualified for a number of key criteria, including ballistic performance against FSP’s (V50 limit) at elevated temperatures, as well as flame resistance, humidity and chemical resistance.

The design using the BT10 system was only qualified after passing these stringent requirements. Rheinmetall-Verseidag noted that the material was easy-to-use. It was cut using water jet, coated, painted and integrated into the vehicle, keeping the vehicle’s payload reduction loss to an absolute minimum. As the system required significantly less material compared to the older design, the integrated cost price of the solution was also lower.

External Vehicle Armor Solution

The latest development containing Dyneema® HB26 is an external vehicle armor solution to protect against of combination of a-symmetric threats: EFP, Level IV kinetic energy according STANAG 4569 AEP55 and artillery fragments, (FSP) at 1500 m/s.

This solution by GEKE Schutztechnik GmbH is a “multi-threat” solution that can be used to protect against a wide variation of different type of threats. It can withstand multiple impacts, and has a considerably higher energy fragment protection than more typical solutions. This ground-breaking concept has a mere thickness of 75mm, and does not require any use of ceramics.

The KE level protection is set on a Level 4 protection of Stanag 4569 AEP 55, being a 14,5mm API kinetic energy round. This is a typical protection level for Patrol Vehicles, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, Infantry Fighting (IFV) Vehicles and for the high end of Armor Personal Carrier (APC) vehicles.

According to the STANAG 4569 AEP 55 standard, the level 4 protection should also withstand, next to the 14,5 API ammunition, Fragment Simulating Projectiles (FSP’s) up to a speed of 960 m/s. However, the designers at GEKE Schutztechnik took this fragment protection up to a much higher level and were able to defeat such FSP’s up to 1500m/s, which is almost 2,5 times more energy stopping power than required by the NATO standards.

Besides protection from KE round and fragments (artillery shells), the designers have also included protection against road side bombs, more specifically EFP’s. The add-on system is capable of withstanding multiple undisclosed types of EFP, travelling at speeds well in excess of 1700 m/s.

Several materials were used in this design to achieve the optimal balance between weight and mobility for the protected platforms. One of the crucial ingredients in the design to save weight, costs, and to achieve multi-impact properties was the use of Dyneema® UHWMPE

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