Lacy, Thomas E.

Committee Member

Pittman, Charles U., Jr.

Committee Member

Olsen, Gregory D.

Committee Member

Kundu, Santanu

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Department of Aerospace Engineering


With the growing threat of orbital debris impacts to space structures, the development of space shielding concepts has been a critical research topic. In this study, numerical simulations of the hypervelocity impact response of stacked aluminum 6061-T6 sheets were performed to assess the effects of layering on penetration resistance. This work was initially motivated by set of experimental tests where a stack of four aluminum sheets of equal thickness was observed to have a higher hypervelocity ballistic resistance than a monolithic aluminum sheet with the same total thickness. A set of smoothed particle hydrodynamic simulations predicted a 40% increase in the ballistic limit for a 6-layer target compared to a monolithic sheet. In addition, the effect of variable sheet thickness and sheet ordering on the impact resistance was investigated, while still maintaining a constant overall thickness. A set of thin layers in front of a thick layer generally lead to a higher predicted ballistic limit than the inverse configuration. This work demonstrates an increase in the performance of advanced space shielding structures associated with multi-layering. This suggests that it may be possible to dramatically improve the performance of such structures by tailoring the material properties, interfaces, and layering concepts.