Experiments and Analysis of Orbital Debris Shock-Induced Penetration of Pressure Vessels in Space
An experimental technique developed by Schmidt et al. (1994), for simulating the response of single-bumper aluminium debris shields at impact velocities up to 18 km/s, is extended here to the case of double-bumper shields. The aluminium impactor and bumper(s) of interest are replaced with cadmium surrogates that have the same dimensions as the prototype, but have melt and vaporization specific energies an order of magnitude lower. Dimensional analysis is used to show that these lower specific phase transformation energies are the key to simulating impact velocities that are a factor of 3.1 higher than previously attained. The particular uniqueness of cadmium is that, by coincidence, its density is a factor of 3.1 greater than aluminium, thereby reproducing the initial momentum of an aluminium projectile and the impulse distribution delivered by the debris cloud to the pressure hull wall. The tests reported here investigate the behavior of a double bumper shield at both normal and 45° angles of incidence.
Key wordsSpace debris Debris shields Double bumper Cadmium simulation Perforation
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