Investigation of Basalt Woven Fabrics for Military Applications

This report investigates the use of basalt fibers in a composite along with SC-15 epoxy resin for ballistic protection. Basalt fibers are not known as a ballistic material, but rather as a structural one. Even though basalt fibers are not expected to outperform some of the higher ballistic-performing materials such as aramid and polyethylene fibers, because of their lower manufacturing costs, basalt fibers are an interesting alternative.

Carrying out expert evaluations and updating business plans and feasibility studies of investment projects for the production of continuous basalt fiber, staple fiber and basalt composite products.

The objective of this project was to gain a basic understanding of the properties of basalt fibers and their potential use for certain Army applications. This report discusses the results of an evaluation of basalt woven rovings with SC-15 epoxy resin composite plates with regard to their mechanical and ballistic properties and how they compare to S-2 glass with SC-15 epoxy resin composite plates.

While the basalt fiber itself was manufactured by the same company (Kamenny Vek), the weaving into fabric was done elsewhere and procured through four different vendors. This allowed us to evaluate the effect that different fabric manufacturing processes and styles had on the final properties of the composites, and to obtain a general comparison of basalt fibers to S-2 glass fibers for potential Army applications.

The mechanical tests used for comparative analysis were flexural, tensile, and short-beam shear strength tests. Results show that the basalt epoxy composite compared well with the S-2 system’s properties. Fragment tests were investigated for composite plates at two areal densities, 1-psf and 5-ps.

To obtain V50 values (velocity at which the probability of penetration of an armor material is 50%), a 17-gn fragment simulating projectile (FSP) was used on the low areal density plates (1-psf). To represent some of the larger fragment threats, a 44-gn FSP was used to obtain V50s against the 5-psf plates. Again, the basalt fiber epoxy system performed well on these tests when compared with the S-2 glass epoxy system.

David M. Spagnuolo, Eugene Napadensky, Tomoko Sano,  and James P. Wolbert
Weapons and Materials Research Directorate, ARL

Companies: Kamenny Vek

Industries: Defence & Military

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