In-service Technique for Assessing Conditions of Ballistic Protective Inserts in Personnel Armor

Period of Performance: 11/10/2003 - 05/09/2005


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Physical Acoustics Corp.
195 Clarksville Road
Princeton Jct., NJ 08550
Principal Investigator


The objective of this Phase II program is to develop a prototype system to nondestructively assess the condition, as per ballistic performance, of the ceramic/FRP Small Arms Protective Inserts (SAPI). Based on the findings and success of Phase I, PAC proposes to design, fabricate and demonstrate a prototype system, to be used for field inspection. The system will be base on Guided Wave Acousto-Ultrasonic (GWAU) technology. The system will automatically inspect the SAPI, calculate an average acoustic property and compare the values with a built-in pass/fail criteria. The pass/fail criteria will be determined based on ballistic testing of SAPI samples with controlled damage created by low-velocity impact. We anticipate that the Phase II effort will result in the development and integration of the proposed SAPI inspection prototype instrument. Utilizing our latest generation digital signal processing system (DiSP), the prototype will be designed and built around existing products, but with an emphasis on portability and inspection automation. This will lay the foundation for a Phase III commercialization commitment with the U.S. Army and other interested parties for the marketing of SAPI inspection systems. It is also expected that the manufacturers of ceramic/FRP SAPI will be interested in using the system as a quality assurance tool. In addition, we believe that law enforcement agencies such as FBI, ATF, and Police Departments, which are users of personnel armor, will be interested in the technology. In order to tap into this potential market, we envision a completely portable version of the inspection system.