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 Composite Armor?

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People Skills : 2353
Registration date : 2012-02-29

PostSubject: Composite Armor?   Wed May 23, 2012 7:02 pm

I've been brainstorming a few different ideas for my next battlebot (15LB). I was wondering if any teams have ever made a composite armor shell to go around their frame?

My thoughts were to mold carbon fiber/Kevlar hybrid fabric over a foam mold of the bot's frame. This would be several layers thick (probably around 1/8" to 1/4") and would get bolted to the frame.

In my experiences, Kevlar is tough stuff and won't even cut with a regular scissors. But, will it be tough enough to hold up in battle against hardened steel, titanium and what ever else it might encounter in battle?
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People Skills : 2353
Registration date : 2012-02-29

PostSubject: Re: Composite Armor?   Wed May 23, 2012 7:31 pm

Alex Udanis wrote:
Several teams have done this before here are some pictures (these are robots of various weights built by team think tank):

They have had varying success.

That's a lot of vertical spinners.

In rio-botz they talk about only using it between aluminum plates and still have titanium shielding on the outside. I still might give it a try as I think it will allow me to build the shell as one smooth, circular continuous piece, theoretically allowing for fewer spots for other bots' weapon's to grip onto.
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Registration date : 2010-05-21

PostSubject: Re: Composite Armor?   Thu May 24, 2012 12:56 am

I did fiberglass laminated balsawood for my 150g, 1 lb and 3 lb robots this past weekend at HORD. It held up relatively well though got shredded decently by Gene in the 3 lb class. I'm planning on going to kevlar for the next iteration with pvc foam core material. Speaking with my friend who has a lot more experience with composites Kevlar is a lot less likely to break than the fiberglass, so should be a lot stronger. I'm planning on doing some more designs utilizing more composites in the future. As Alex has referenced, I'd recommend checking out the servo magazine articles from Team Think Tank as well as contacting Bradley directly if you have more specific questions. I've found he's more than willing to lend advice and help out if he can.
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PostSubject: Re: Composite Armor?   Sun Jun 03, 2012 10:34 am

DISCLAIMER: Never used 'em, speaking theoretically, not from experience!!

I would think that it would be a bad idea to make the outside of your robot from fiber composites of any type. The reason is that the fibers are intentionally made to NOT cut easily, so now you would have excellent material for an opponents weapon to dig into and throw you with.

Fiber composites are really lightweight, and with a thin 'slippery' skin of spring steel or Ti it seems they maybe could work well as "framework/armor basis" material. But then how do you attach them securely to the rest of the bot?

For internals it seems they would be more trouble than UHMW or HDPE, because these are also lightweight, but can be machined easily and thus produce much greater precision than a composite can achieve. I suppose you could make molds, and imbed nuts of some sort for attachments, but again, they seem pretty non-ideal compared to machinables.

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PostSubject: Re: Composite Armor?   Sun Jun 03, 2012 11:37 am

That's one of the bad things composites have going for them. It takes a bunch of time and effort to get a decently precise piece made of a fiber composite material, as compared to a machinable. A dremel is usually the best bet to finish a piece of fiber, though you could try to machine it after it's been hardened, though I don't suggest it.

I have had experience using fiberglass-reinforced foam (The high-density pink stuff) and it holds up incredibly well. It wouldn't be good for armor, but internal structure would be the best place for it, if there's room.
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