An experimental investigation has been carried out to study the collapse mechanisms and the energy absorption capacities of the glass/polyester composite hemi-spherical shells under both quasi-static and drop hammer loading. The shells were made of randomly oriented glass "bre mats and polyester resin. Quasistatic
tests were conducted at speed of 2 mm/min. and the impact velocities varied from 5 to 9 m/s. The radii of the shells varied from 53.5 to 106.1 mm and their thicknesses from 1.10 to 2.84 mm. Infiuence of these variables on the mechanism of deformation has been discussed. Experiments on 45 shells showed that their progressive crushing occurred due to the formation of successive zones of fracture. Based on these observations an analytical model has been developed for the prediction of load-deformation and energy-compression curves. The results thus obtained are found to match well with the experiments. It is seen that the ratio of the mean collapse loads recorded in impact and quasi-static tests for a given shell is greater than one but it
decreases with the increase in thickness of the shell.