Characterisation of aluminium matrix syntactic foams under drop weight impact

M. Altenaiji, Z. W. Guan, W. J. Cantwell, Y. Zhao, G. K. Schleyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


It is a challenging task to develop a lightweight, and at the same time, strong material with high energy absorption for applications in military vehicles, which are able to withstand impact and blast with minimum injury to occupants. This paper presents a study on aluminium matrix syntactic foams as a possible core material for a protection system on military vehicles. Experimental work was first carried out which covers sample preparation through pressure infiltration and impact tests on aluminium matrix syntactic foams manufactured. Numerical models were then developed using commercial finite element code ABAQUS/Explicit to simulate the dynamic behaviour of the foam. The effect of strain rate on their compressive behaviour was investigated as these properties are vital in terms of the applications of these materials. Characterisation of the foam behaviour under low velocity impact loading and an identification of the underlying failure mechanisms were also carried out to evaluate the effective mechanical performance. It was found that samples subjected to drop weight impact offered a 20-30% higher plateau stresses than those of the samples subjected to quasi-static compression loading. The degree of correlation between the numerical simulations and the experimental results has been shown to be reasonably good.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)296-302
Number of pages7
JournalMaterials and Design
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Drop weight hammer
  • Finite element
  • Metal matrix syntactic foam
  • Strain rate


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