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Proceedings Paper

Experimental technique to launch flier-plates representing orbital debris to hypervelocities
Author(s): Lalit C. Chhabildas; Mark B. Boslough
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Paper Abstract

Very high driving pressures (tens or hundreds of GPa), are required to accelerate flier plates to hypervelocities. This loading pressure pulse on the flier plates must be nearly shockless to prevent the plate from melting or vaporizing. This is accomplished by using graded-density impactors referred to as 'pillows'. When this graded-density material is used to impact a flier- plate in a modified two-stage light gas gun, nearly shockless megabar pressures are introduced into the flier plate. The pressure pulses must also be tailored to prevent spallation of the flier- plate. This technique has been used to launch nominally 1-mm-thick aluminum, magnesium and titanium (gram-size) intact plates to 10.4 km/s, and 0.5-mm-thick aluminum and titanium (half-gram size) intact plates to 12.2 km/s. This is the highest mass-velocity capability attained with laboratory launchers to date, and should open up new regimes of impact physics and lethality studies related to space sciences for laboratory investigations. In particular, the mass- velocity capability of this newly developed hypervelocity launcher meets the average specifications of the space debris environment, and is therefore expected to be a useful tool to evaluate the effects of debris impact on space structures and debris shields.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 September 1993
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 1951, Space Debris Detection and Mitigation, (15 September 1993); doi: 10.1117/12.156540
Show Author Affiliations
Lalit C. Chhabildas, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Mark B. Boslough, Sandia National Labs. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1951:
Space Debris Detection and Mitigation
Firooz A. Allahdadi, Editor(s)

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