Multi-Scale Simulations for Developing Light Weight Vehicles with Increased Survivability from Impulsive Loads

Principal Investigator: Nickolas Vlahopoulos, University of Michigan, nickvl(at)
Student: John Kim, University of Michigan
Government: Krishan Bishnoi, Syed Mohammad, U.S. Army TARDEC
Industry: Nam Purush, BAE Systems

The U.S. Armed Forces face the need for rapid deployment from the United States in order to engage regional threats decisively on a global basis. Size and weight are paramount factors for Army vehicles supporting this force projection structure. Lighter weight vehicles is an enabling factor for faster transport, higher mobility, fuel conservation, and a reduced ground footprint of supporting forces. At the same time high levels of protection must be offered by the vehicle to its occupants against combined loads from explosions and high velocity fragments and projectiles. Weight reduction and high levels of survivability are mutually competing objectives. Composite materials provide some of the most viable options for manufacturing such lightweight vehicles provided that they can offer the desirable level of protection. Multi-scale simulations can be engaged for designing such materials and for evaluating the overall vehicle survivability. NASA Glenn has developed the MAC/GMC (Micromechanics Analysis code with Generalized Method of Cells) code which enables coupled multi-scale analysis of advanced composite structures.

In this project the MAC code (part of the ImMAC suite) is combined with a commercially available code for simulating the loads applied on a structure from explosion/fragmentations in order to develop a new multi-scale simulation method suitable to Army vehicle analysis. The new simulation methodology is used for designing light weight materials and vehicles with high resistance characteristics to combined loads from explosions and high velocity projectiles.


  • J. P. Kim, N. Vlahopoulos, G. Zhang, “Development of Blast Event Simulation Process for Multi-Scale Modeling of Composite Armor for Light Weight Vehicles,” International Journal of Vehicle Design, 2013 Vol.61, No.1/2/3/4, pp.157 - 176.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJVD.2013.050844