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Examining the Core Factors of Ballistics Testing

Are you aware of the vital role that ballistics testing plays in guaranteeing the safety and overall performance of protective armour, vehicles, and structural protection systems? As a discipline, ballistics evaluates the launching, flight behaviour, and impact effects of projectiles such as bullets, explosive devices, and other unguided weaponry. By understanding such details, mechanical and ballistics engineers can amass much information, including accurate safety ratings, performance characteristics and more.

For over 45 years, Biokinetics has offered comprehensive consulting, testing, and analysis for terminal ballistics, blast load effects, blunt force trauma, and research-oriented products designed to prevent injuries for those in the police/corrections and military fields, as well as those in the sports and transportation fields. We believe in the power of research to eliminate unnecessary risks and are proud to partner with our clients to help create better product standards, as well as methods of evaluation to ensure optimal performance and safety for everyone when it matters most.
Below, we’ll look at the three core components of ballistics testing and the benefits of partnering with Biokinetics when it comes to your evaluation needs. Read on to learn more!

Why Ballistics Testing Matters

While many may be familiar with the concept of ballistics from a forensics application (examining weapons and projectiles used in a crime), the reality is the field of ballistics armour analysis is much more expansive as a whole. Ballistics testing determines factors that tie into the study of projectile interactions with armour and its protective capacity to prevent perforation and behind-armour effects applicable to body armour, helmets, etc. shields, and vehicle and structural armour systems.

When conducting a ballistics investigation, three core areas are evaluated:

Internal Ballistics

Internal ballistics focuses on the launching of projectiles within the bore of a weapon and involves examining the time taken from lock and ignition to the projectile’s exit from the weapon itself. Internal ballistics evaluates the state of the propellant, energy involved, motion, burning rate equation, and form function to determine the velocity and power behind a projectile upon its release. Ultimate control of all these parameters is needed to obtain consistent and controllable projectile speeds to study the performance of armour systems.

Exterior Ballistics

Exterior ballistics examines how a projectile behaves while in flight after leaving the muzzle. Small and medium calibre projectiles will vary in their flight dynamics as influenced by their in-flight aerodynamics, gyroscopic stabilization, drag resistance, and more. While many of these characteristics are known for specific projectiles, actions are still needed to limit their variability and to measure their pre-impact state.

Terminal Ballistics

Terminal ballistics evaluate what happens after a projectile hits its target. It is one of the most important factors when determining what armour or protective measures are best suited for your specific application. Factors considered in this level of analysis include the penetration depth, how much the projectile expands or fragments, and what weight is retained. Terminal ballistics examines how kinetic energy is transferred from a projectile to a target and what factors must be accommodated for the best overall outcome.

Safety in Understanding

At the core of ballistics injury reduction for military and police-based organizations is the understanding of the interaction between the projectile-armour system and, more relevant, the types and risks of injury from the impact even when the armour stops the projectile. By gaining knowledge of the injury mechanisms and tolerances, and accurate armour performance data, product manufacturers and procurement managers can make informed decisions regarding their next steps in development or purchasing armour with peace of mind.

At Biokinetics, we believe that the root of safety is clear and transparent information. Our ballistic testing services are housed in our full-service and accredited laboratory that features state-of-the-art firing, loading, yaw and velocity monitoring systems that allow us to facilitate projectile and target interactions. Biokinetics also has custom-instrumented surrogates of the head, torso and extremities to evaluate injury potential. Testing is available to standard industry specifications or may be customized for specific programs as necessary. Our highly skilled team of engineers, technicians and industry experts conduct all evaluations.

Contact Biokinetics today to learn more!