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The MEMIN research unit: Scaling impact cratering experiments in porous sandstones

: Poelchau, MH.; Kenkmann, T.; Thoma, K.; Hoerth, T.; Dufresne, A.; Schäfer, F.


Meteoritics & planetary science 48 (2013), Nr.1, S.8-22
ISSN: 1086-9379
ISSN: 0026-1114
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG
FOR 887; KE 732/17-1
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG
FOR 887; KE 732/16-1
Fraunhofer EMI ()

The MEMIN research unit (Multidisciplinary Experimental and Modeling Impact research Network) is focused on analyzing experimental impact craters and experimental cratering processes in geological materials. MEMIN is interested in understanding how porosity and pore space saturation influence the cratering process. Here, we present results of a series of impact experiments into porous wet and dry sandstone targets. Steel, iron meteorite, and aluminum projectiles ranging in size from 2.5 to 12 mm were accelerated to velocities of 2.57.8 km s-1, yielding craters with diameters between 3.9 and 40 cm. Results show that the targets porosity reduces crater volumes and cratering efficiency relative to nonporous rocks. Saturation of pore space with water to 50% and 90% increasingly counteracts the effects of porosity, leading to larger but flatter craters. Spallation becomes more dominant in larger-scale experiments and leads to an increase in cratering efficiency with increasing projectile size for constant impact velocities. The volume of spalled material is estimated using parabolic fits to the crater morphology, yielding approximations of the transient crater volume. For impacts at the same velocity these transient craters show a constant cratering efficiency that is not affected by projectile size.