Mechanical Response of Composite Panels with Balsa and Polymeric Cores – Summary Report 2014

Nathan Robert Gilfillan


Balsa wood has a very high strength to weight ratio when compared with other materials and has the potential to absorb large amounts of impact energy along the grain. Current deformable ballistic materials with enough plies will stop most high velocity projectiles however the nature of the fabrics can lead to damage to structures behind the material. It has been proposed that balsa wood or PVC Foamboard be used behind these materials in order to absorb this impact energy thus preventing damage to any structure behind the balsa wood. It was found that this technique was highly effective however the ballistic material selected; spectra, was not about to stop high velocity projectiles due to its material properties and low melting point. It was also found that buy folding the spectra into plies the ballistic performance was significantly improved.

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