What is it about?

This work aims to explain how composite cast lattice structures can be used in applications that require high kinetic energy absorption and penetration resistance. The concept discussed herewith can be extended to virtually any combination of metal matrix and tile materials. However, we focused on two extremes: a relatively soft aluminum matrix with hard silicon carbide tiles. This combination was then tested against high-velocity impacts from armor-piercing and ball rounds, and the study was further analyzed with the help of computational techniques.

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Why is it important?

Strut-based lattices structures are widely used for structural applications in which having the lowest possible weight is paramount. It becomes essential to understand how the mechanical performance of these structures can be enhanced, in this case, by adding a reinforcing material with different characteristics. Our results provide insight into the energy-absorbing mechanism of this composite material. Upon interaction with the high-energy projectile, the hard material will break the projectile’s tip as the load is transferred to the trusses. The aluminum lattice is not capable of defeating this type of threat, and the ceramic material alone does not have enough toughness to dissipate the kinetic energy. In brief, this work’s goal is to provide a lightweight component with a complex geometry that could not be produced without the benefits of additive manufacturing.


This work results from several years of hard work, and it represents an outstanding collaboration between professionals from different engineering fields. More than that, the individual expertise of each co-author is highlighted throughout the document, which combines the well-understood aspects of metalcasting with additive manufacturing, and the phenomena are further addressed with state-of-the-art modeling tools such as the finite element method. It is our greatest wish that this type of work is seen as a bridge between well-established knowledge and digital-era technologies.

Manuel Umanzor
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Penetration Resistance of Cast Metal−Ceramic Composite Lattice Structures, Advanced Engineering Materials, August 2021, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1002/adem.202100577.
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