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In this paper a review of impact mechanics and high-energy absorbing materials is presented. We review different theoretical models (rigid-body dynamics, elastic, shock, and plastic wave propagation, and nonclassical or nonlocal models. and computational methods (finite-element, finite-difference, and mesh-free methods. used in impact mechanics. Some recent developments in numerical simulation of impact (e.g., peridynamics) and new design concepts proposed as high energy absorbing materials (lattice and truss structures, hybrid sandwich composites, metal foams, magnetorheological fluids, porous shape memory alloys. are discussed. Recent studies on experimental evaluation and constitutive modeling of strain rate-dependent polymer matrix composites are also presented. Impact damage on composite materials in aerospace engineering is discussed along with future research needs. A particular example for the design of a sandwich material as an impact mitigator is given in more detail. This brief review is intended to help the readers in identifying starting points for research in modeling and simulation of impact problems and in designing energy absorbing materials and structures.