The Personal Armour Systems Symposium (PASS) is a biennial technical conference and exhibition which brings together experts from around the world, specialising in the design, development and procurement of personal armour for military and defence forces. PASS2016 was held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, from the 19th - 23th September 2016 and the Symposium took place at the historic Marine Establishment.
PASS 2016 was organized on behalf of IPAC by the Dutch Ministry of Defence, TNO - Innovation for Life and the Dutch Defence Manufacturers Association NIDV by Jibe! Group, an experienced PCO (Professional Conference Organizer).
Our first technical paper 'Experimental-based numerical simulation of the drop test within NIJ Standard-0101.06 for personal hard armour development' was presented within the TEST STANDARDS II part of the technical presentations. The paper dealt with the simulation of personal hard armour systems seeking certification within the NIJ Standard-0101.06 which have to meet the minimum required ballistic performance after being adequately conditioned. The conditioning process comprises a drop test scenario and passing this currently involves extensive experimental testing that has to be carried out at a late stage in the armour system development, with consequently high costs and business risks. This often results in unnecessarily over-engineered plates. The current study details the creation and use of a numerical tool able to accurately predict drop test performance with the Finite Element Method at a fraction of the cost and risk involved in the purely experimental approach. This work is the result of multiple years of experimental testing and correlation work on both ceramic materials and UHMWPE. This was made possible by the latest progress in the simulation software and hardware. Simulated drop test results from the numerical model are compared to laboratory-controlled experimental testing based on the NIJ Standard-0101.06 and successfully validated with high-speed videos, X-ray and thermal analyses. The work deepened our understanding of the response of the plate to drop test and is currently being used to develop a personal armour system able to meet the NIJ requirement at minimum weight and bulkiness.
Our second technical paper 'Why is my rifle plate so uncomfortable?' was presented by the Metropolitan Police during the HUMAN FACTORS session. The paper dealt with the fit and perceived comfort level of hard plates used as ballistic armour and how this can effect the mission effectiveness of the wearer. Due to manufacturing challenges and lack of clear ergonomic requirements in the current standards, most of the currently produced plates have a relatively flat and uncomfortable shape, not based on a realistic torso shape. This paper details the efforts in Metropolitan Police Service to define an ideal shape to give the best wearability to a wide range of users. A first prototype ergonomic chest plate was derived from a 3D scan of a male chest, in such a way to ensure correct anatomic proportions and optimise the pressure distribution on the torso. The prototype chest plate underwent a supervised shape fitting assessment at Metropolitan Police Service Training Centre (MPSTC) involving 47 test subjects, both male and female. The prototype demonstrated to be a good fit for two thirds of police officers. The geometry information on the torso of the police officers was acquired by means of non-contact 3D laser scanning, and a high-level statistical analysis was carried out on their height and bideltoid breadth. This data will be subsequently used to derive an anatomically correct chest plate geometry and could be used to carry out virtual wearability assessments of ballistic plates and other equipment. The positive outcome of the shape fitting assessment of the prototype chest plate demonstrates that a comfortable chest plate shape needs to be based on a realistic torso geometry, and confirms the suitability of the applied techniques to this project. This study thus aims to set the basis for a new generation of ergonomic armour that will enhance the comfort and mission effectiveness of the wearer.
Both techncial papers can be downloaded in the Publications area