U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Composites Science and Technology 114 (2015) 17–25


Ballistic performance, at effective strain rates of (104–105 s-1), for polymeric dicyclopentadiene (pDCPD) was compared with two epoxy resin/diamine systems with comparable glass transition temperatures. The high rate response was characterized in terms of a projectile penetration kinetic energy, KE50, which describes the projectile kinetic energy at a velocity with a 50% probability of sample penetration. pDCPD showed superior penetration resistance, with a 300–400% improvement in ballistic energy dissipation, when compared with the structural epoxy resins. In addition, unlike typical highly crosslinked networks that become brittle at low temperatures, the improved pDCPD performance occurred over a very broad temperature range (55 to 75 ˚C), despite exhibiting a glass transition temperature characteristic of structural resins (~142 ˚C). In addition to the high Tg, pDCPD exhibited a room temperature glassy storage modulus of 1.7 GPa, offering the potential to circumvent the common structural versus energy dissipation trade-off encountered with conventional crosslinked polymers. Quasi-static measurements suggested that the performance of pDCPD is phenomenologically related to higher fracture toughness and lower yield stress relative to typical epoxies, while molecular dynamics simulations suggest the origin is the lack of strong non-covalent interactions and the facile formation of nanoscale voids to accommodate strain in pDCPD.