Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2022

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Damian Stoddard

Relational Format



As today’s society becomes increasingly more conscious of finding alternative ways to

power our vehicles, research surrounding solar-charged military vehicles is on the rise. With this endeavor comes an engineering feat of discovering the proper material that is cost-effective, wear-resistant, and strong enough to withstand the harsh elements and potentially large impacts that these military-grade vehicles may encounter.

This research tested two types of materials in a shock tube to simulate their behavior in a dynamic impact. These materials were polycarbonate and polyvinyl chloride, more commonly known as PVC. In addition to control samples of both of these materials, samples of each were subjected to accelerated UV radiation to determine the degradation effects on both.

Experimental analysis was conducted using high-speed photography and Digital Image Correlation. Various relationships such as load versus displacement, displacement versus time, and deformation energy versus time were analyzed. Additionally, the total deflection, specific energy, and acceleration were determined and compared for each material. The primary results concluded that the unexposed polycarbonate performed the best in all categories, followed by the exposed polycarbonate, the unexposed PVC, and the exposed PVC.

This study provides a critical base for future iterations in which more materials are studied in a similar manner and compared to the ones discussed.



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