Purdue University Graduate School
Investigation into polymer bonded explosives dynamics under gas gun impact loading.pdf (47.26 MB)

Investigation into polymer bonded explosives dynamics under gas gun impact loading

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posted on 2020-04-16, 12:57 authored by Jonathan D DrakeJonathan D Drake
The initiation of high explosives (HEs) under shock loading lacks a comprehensive understanding: particularly at the particle scale. One common explanation is hot spot theory, which suggests that energy in the material resulting from the impact event is localized in a small area causing an increase in temperature that can lead to ignition. This study focuses on the response of HMX particles (a common HE) within a polymer matrix (Sylgard-184®), a simplified example of a polymer bonded explosive (PBX). A light gas gun was used to load the samples at impact velocities ranging from 370 to 520 m/s. The impact events were visualized using X-ray phase contrast imaging (PCI) allowing real-time observation of the impact event. The experiments used three subsets of PBX samples: multiple particle (production grade and single crystal), drilled hole, and milled slot. Evidence of damage and deformation occurred in all of the sample types. While the necessary impact velocity for consistent hot spot formation leading to reactions was not reached, the damage (particularly cracking) that occurred provides a useful indication of where hot spots may occur when higher velocities are reached. With the multiple particle samples, evidence of cracking and debonding occurred throughout. One sample showed significant volume expansion due to possible reaction. The samples containing drilled holes demonstrated the expected pore collapse behavior at these velocities, as well as damage downstream from the holes under various two-hole arrangements. Milled slot samples were tested to simulate existing cracks in the HMX. These samples showed increased damage at the site of the milled slot, as well as unique cracking behavior in one of the samples.




Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics


  • Aeronautics and Astronautics

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Weinong Chen

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Steven Son

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Jeffrey Rhoads

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