Sloped Armour

Sloped armour is armour that is neither in a vertical nor a horizontal position. Such "angled" armour is often mounted on tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs). Sloping an armour plate makes it harder to penetrate for antitank-weapons, such as armour-piercing shells (kinetic energy penetrators) and rockets, if they take a more or less horizontal path to their target, as is often the case. The better protection is caused by three main effects.

Firstly, a projectile hitting a plate at an angle other than 90° has to move through a greater thickness of armour, compared to hitting the same plate at a right-angle. In the latter case only the plate thickness (the normal to the surface of the armour) has to be pierced; increasing the armour slope improves, for a given plate thickness, the armour's level of protection at the point of impact by increasing the thickness measured in the horizontal plane, the angle of attack of the projectile. The protection of an area, instead of just a single point, is indicated by the average horizontal thickness, which is identical to the area density (in this case relative to the horizontal): the relative armour mass used to protect that area.

If we increase the horizontal thickness by increasing the slope while keeping the plate thickness constant, we need a longer and thus heavier armour plate to protect a certain area. This improvement of protection is simply equivalent to the increase of area density and thus mass, and can offer no weight benefit. Therefore in armoured vehicle design the two other main effects of sloping have been the motive to apply sloped armour.

One of these is a more efficient envelopment of a certain vehicle volume by armour. In general, more rounded forms have a lesser surface relative to their volume. As in an armoured vehicle that surface has to be covered by heavy armour, a more efficient form can lead to a substantial weight reduction or a thicker armour for the same weight. Sloping the armour can lead to a better approximation of an ideal rounded form.

The final effect is that of deflection, deforming and ricochet of a projectile. When it hits a plate under a steep angle, its path might be curved, causing it to move through more armour – or it might bounce off entirely. Also it can be bent, reducing its penetration. However, these effects are strongly dependent on the precise armour materials used and the qualities of the projectile hitting it: sloping might even lead to a better penetration. Shaped charge warheads may fail to penetrate and even detonate when striking armour at a highly oblique angle.

The sharpest angles are usually seen on the frontal glacis plate, both as it is the hull side most likely to be hit and because there is more room to slope in the longitudinal direction of a vehicle.

Read more about Sloped Armour:  The Principle of Sloped Armour, Deflection, Historical Application

Other articles related to "sloped armour, armour":

Sloped Armour - Historical Application
... and had been in use on warships (one of the earliest recorded uses of sloped armour was on early Confederate ironclads, such as the CSS Virginia) and partially implemented on the first French ... the Panther, the King Tiger, the Jagdpanzer and the Hetzer, which all had sloped armour ... is especially evident because German tank armour was generally not cast but consisted of welded plates ...
Vehicle Armour - Armoured Fighting Vehicles - Sloped Armour
... Sloped armour is armour that is mounted at a non-vertical and non-horizontal angle, typically on tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles ... such as deflection, deforming and ricochet of a projectile, have been the reasons to apply sloped armour in armoured vehicles design ... Another motive is the fact that sloping armour is a more efficient way of covering the necessary equipment since it encloses less volume with less material ...

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