Armour: Materials, Theory, and Design | Advanced

Contact information

For further information or to request a quotation, please contact the Professional Education Courses Unit on:

Enquiries Phone: 02 5114 5573

Enquiries Email:

In-house delivery

UNSW Canberra Professional Education Courses may be available for in-house delivery at your organisation's premises. In-house courses allow maximum attendance without the additional travel costs. Courses can be developed to suit the specific staff development and training needs of your organisation. Recommended for groups of 10 or more.

Building off the three-day course of the same name, this five-day online course provides participants with an analysis of the science behind the materials, systems and strategies that are used to provide protection against military and terrorist threats. Additional to the three-day course where armour materials and testing techniques have been analysed, this course will focus on the stress wave and shock propagation as well as examining active and reactive armour systems that are commonly deployed on vehicles. Wounding mechanisms and computational modelling approaches (to aid in armour design) will also be discussed.


'I thought the course was excellent, all content extremely interesting and Professor Hazell delivered each day with the utmost energy and professionalism'.

'Paul is extremely knowledgeable regarding the course content and was very helpful in answering all questions and presenting the course content in an easy-to-understand manner'.

'I found the mechanics type problems and applications of the theory to be the most useful and valuable. This not only solidified my theoretical understanding but also gave context to the applications of the theory'.

'I found both the depth and breadth of knowledge conveyed within such a short period (5 days) was outstanding. Plenty of different materials and threats to armour were outlined, which really is a credit to Paul’s teaching'.

'The level of depth that the topics went into were ideal for those with experience, while the supplementary material provided additional information for those without experience'.

'The topic of armour testing and standards was informative and useful in the context of the work that I do in defence'.

'I liked how the course gave a broad overview of a range of threats to amour, as this information allowed me to better understand the armour design content/calculations'.



Paul has over 20 years of experience studying the impact behaviour of materials. In 2012 he moved to Canberra, Australia from the UK to take up the post of Professor of Impact Dynamics at UNSW Canberra. Before taking this position he was Head of the Centre for Ordnance Science and Technology at Cranfield University’s Shrivenham campus (at the UK Defence Academy). He has published extensively, appeared in several documentaries and presented his research work at numerous symposia. He has published two books on protection technologies with the most recent called ‘ARMOUR: Materials, Theory, and Design’ (CRC Press, 2015). 

Course Information

MODULE 1: Introduction to protection and materials

Recommended prerequisite: None

Part 1: Introduction to Protection

An introduction to armour concepts | The survivability onion | What affects armour performance? | Obliquity |Strength of materials | Whittaker’s approach | Structural vs appliqué | Homogeneous vs laminate | Passive vs reactive vs active | Spacing.

Part 2: Introduction to Armour Materials

How are materials used in armour construction | The structure of materials | The mechanics of material behaviour | An introduction to material properties and testing techniques | Dynamic behaviour.

MODULE 2: Threats 1

Recommended prerequisite: None

Guns including small arms | Ammunition concepts | Armour-Piercing Discarding-Sabot (APDS) rounds | Armour-Piercing Fin-Stabilised Discarding-Sabot (APFSDS) rounds | Shaped charge | A discussion on ammunition construction and performance | Explosively formed projectiles.

MODULE 3: Threats 2

Recommended prerequisite: Module 2

Explosive threats

Introduction to explosives | Detonation | Mechanics of blast | Materials and solutions | Fragmentation effects | Mott’s fragmentation theory | Gurney theory | Calculating the fragment size, velocity and penetration | Drag characteristics | An introduction to bunker busters | Mines.

MODULE 4: Penetration mechanisms

Recommended prerequisite: Module 1 and Module 2

Ballistic failure mechanisms | Low-velocity impact | de Marre theory | Recht penetration theory | High-velocity impact | Hydrodynamic penetration theory | Examples.

MODULE 5: Armour materials I

Recommended prerequisites: Module 1, Module 2 and Module 4

Part 1: Ceramics

Structure of armour ceramics |Processing of ceramics | Properties of ceramic |Early studies on ceramic armour | Cone formation |High-velocity impact | Studies on the subject of dwell |Shock studies in ceramic materials | Modelling ceramic impact | Current application and challenges | Comparing with other materials | Improving performance | Transparent armour materials.

Part 2: Woven Fabrics and Composite Laminates

Basics | Manufacturing processes of composite laminates | Fibrous materials for armour Applications | Spall shields| Sandwich constructions.

MODULE 6: Armour materials II

Recommended prerequisites: Module 1, Module 2, Module 4 and Module 5

Metallic armour materials and structures | Properties and processing of metallic armour | Metallic armour materials| Welding |Sandwich structures | Micro-lattice structures | Metallic foams | Dynamic failure mechanisms.

MODULE 7: Stress Waves and Shock Waves

Recommended prerequisites: Module 1, Module 2 and Module 3

Calculation of the particle velocity | Elastic waves | Inelastic waves | Shock waves | Rankine-Hugoniot relationships | The Rayleigh line | The isentrope | Temperature rise due to shock | Impedance matching | Calculating the pressure and particle velocity due to collisions | Spall theory | Experimental techniques.

MODULE 8: Reactive and Active Armour Systems

Recommended prerequisites: Module 1, Module 2, Module 3 and Module 7

Explosive reactive armour (ERA) | Mechanisms of SC defeat | Explosive initiation mechanisms | Bulging armour |Electric and electromagnetic developments | DROZD | ARENA | Modern hard-kill active defence systems| What about the future?

MODULE 9:  Testing and vulnerability

Recommended prerequisites: Module 1 and Module 2

Ballistic testing techniques | Blast and fragmentation testing techniques | STANAG 4569 | AEP-55 | EN 1522 | EN 1523 | EN 1063 | NIJ standards | Human response to ballistic loading | Human response to blast loading | Limiting blast mine injury to vehicle occupants.

MODULE 10: Computational modelling | Assessment

Recommended prerequisites: Module 1, Module 2 and Module 3 and Module 7

Introduction to computer codes including hydrocodes | Discretisation | Empirical vs analytical vs computational | Equations of state | Strength models | Failure models |Erosion models | Modelling blast and ballistic attack.

An online test will be available for those wishing to test their knowledge and gain post-graduate credit.

Courses will be held subject to sufficient registrations. UNSW Canberra reserves the right to cancel a course up to five working days prior to commencement of the course. If a course is cancelled, you will have the opportunity to transfer your registration or be issued a full refund. If registrant cancels within 10 days of course commencement, a 50% registration fee will apply. UNSW Canberra is a registered ACT provider under ESOS Act 2000-CRICOS provider Code 00098G.