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Fragmentation of hypervelocity aluminum projectiles on fabrics

: Rudolph, M.; Schafer, F.; Destefanis, R.; Faraud, M.; Lambert, M.


Acta astronautica 76 (2012), S.42-50
ISSN: 0094-5765
Fraunhofer EMI ()

This paper presents work performed for a study investigating the ability of different flexible materials to induce fragmentation of a hypervelocity projectile. Samples were chosen to represent a wide range of industrially available types of flexible materials like ceramic, aramid and carbon fabrics as well as a thin metallic mesh. Impact conditions and areal density were kept constant for all targets. Betacloth and multi-layer insulation (B-MU) are mounted onto the targets to account for thermal system engineering requirements. All tests were performed using the Space light-gas gun facility (SLGG) of the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics, Ernst-Mach-Institut, EMI. Projectiles were aluminum spheres with 5 mm diameter impacting at approximately 63 km/s. Fragmentation was evaluated using a witness plate behind the target. An aramid and a ceramic fabric lead the ranking of fabrics with the best projectile fragmentation and debris cloud dispersion performance. A c omparison with an equal-density rigid aluminum plate is presented. The work presented can be applied to optimize the micrometeoroid and space debris (MM/SD) shielding structure of inflatable modules.