2022 journal article
Ballistic loading and survivability of optical fiber sensing layers for soft body armor evaluation
OPTICAL FIBER TECHNOLOGY, 73.
• To survive impact the contact radius between the fiber and impactor must be increased. • Silicone was chosen due to its high strain to failure and elastic properties. • In situ silicone sensors have shown to minimally effect back face deformation depth. • Silicone sensing mats are able to protect optical fibers during impact. The authors previously demonstrated the use of FBG sensors in Kevlar mats behind body armor to measure the transient back face deformation (BFD) during ballistic testing. This paper presents a novel sensor system based on a Fiber Bragg Grating embedded in silicone mats to improve the survivability of the body armor in-situ strain sensing layers. Due to the large amount of deformation, a relative slip between the optical fibers and the supporting structure is needed to maintain the performance of the sensors and determine the relationship between the measured strain and deformation shape. Two silicone materials were tested, Smooth-Sil 950 and Sorta-Clear 40, in both 1 mm and 2 mm thicknesses to evaluate their survivability and impact on BFD. To enhance slipping between the fibers and surrounding silicone a thin layer of petroleum jelly was placed on the fibers prior to being cast in the silicone mats. The 1 mm Sorta-Clear 40 mats performed best in silicone survivability, FBG survivability and minimal impact on the BFD. The new system improves on key deficiencies that were found from inserting the fibers directly into the Kevlar with minimal to no impact on the back face deformation.