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Journal of Nanotechnology
Volume 2009, Article ID 794740, 8 pages
Research Article

Improving Ballistic Performance of Polyurethane Foam by Nanoparticle Reinforcement

1School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
2Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA
3Tuskegee University's Center for Advanced Materials, Tuskegee, AL 36088, USA

Received 7 August 2009; Accepted 5 November 2009

Academic Editor: Simon Joseph Antony

Copyright © 2009 M. F. Uddin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We report improving ballistic performance of polyurethane foam by reinforcing it with nanoscale particles. Particles were dispersed through a sonic cavitation process and the loading of particles was 3 wt% of the total polymer. Once foams were reinforced, sandwich panels were made and impacted with fragment simulating projectiles (FSPs) in a 1.5-inch gas gun. Projectile speed was set up to have complete penetration of the target in each experiment. Test results have indicated that sandwich with nanophased cores absorbed about 20% more kinetic energy than their neat counterpart. The corresponding increase in ballistic limit was around 12% over the neat control samples. The penetration phenomenon was also monitored using a high-speed camera. Analyses of digital images showed that FSP remained inside the nanophased sandwich for about 7 microseconds longer than that of a neat sandwich demonstrating improved energy absorption capability of the nanoparticle reinforced core. Failure modes for energy absorption have been investigated through a microscope and high-speed images.