Simulation of hollow shaped charge jet impacts onto aluminium whipple bumpers at 11 km/s

Taylor, Emma A. (2001). Simulation of hollow shaped charge jet impacts onto aluminium whipple bumpers at 11 km/s. International Journal of Impact Engineering, 26(1-10) pp. 773–784.



The computational technique of Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (as implemented in the hydrocodes AUTODYN-2D and AUTODYN-3D) has been used to simulate the impact of hollow shaped charge jet projectiles onto stuffed Whipple bumper shielding. Due to limited availability of material models, the interim Nextel/Kevlar-Epoxy bumper was modelled as an equivalent thickness of aluminium. Stuffed Whipple bumper shields are used for meteoroid and debris impact protection of the European module of the International Space Station (the Columbus APM). A total of 56 simulations were carried out to investigate the impact processes occurring for shaped charge jet impact. Sensitivity studies were carried out on the influence of projectile shape, pitch, yaw and strength at 11 km/s to determine the range of debris cloud morphologies. The debris cloud structure was shown to be highly dispersed, and no projectile remnant was observed at the centre of the cloud. The mass of an aluminium sphere producing equivalent damage to a shaped charge jet projectile was in the range 1.5 to 1.75 times greater than the mass of the shaped charge jet projectile. Upon loading by the dispersed debris cloud, the interim bumper failed by spallation, producing fragments moving at 2 km/s or less. The fragments distorted the rear wall (pressure wall) of the shield but did not perforate it. The experimental data show rear wall deformation but to a lesser degree. Perforation of the rear wall, observed for one test, was not reproduced by the simulation. Nextel/Kevlar-epoxy material models are required to reproduce correctly the interim bumper failure under debris cloud loading.

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