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An approach to achieve progress in spacecraft shielding

: Thoma, K.; Schäfer, F.; Hiermaier, S.; Schneider, E.


Advances in Space Research 34 (2004), Nr.5, S.1063-1075
ISSN: 0273-1177
Fraunhofer EMI ()

Progress in shield design against space debris can be achieved only when a combined approach based on several tools is used. This approach depends on the combined application of advanced numerical methods, specific material models and experimental determination of input parameters for these models. Examples of experimental methods for material characterization are given, covering the range from quasi static to very high strain rates for materials like Nextel and carbon fiber-reinforced materials. Mesh free numerical methods have extraordinary capabilities in the simulation of extreme material behaviour including complete failure with phase changes, combined with shock wave phenomena and the interaction with structural components. In this paper the benefits from combining numerical methods, material modelling and detailed experimental studies for shield design are demonstrated. The following examples are given: (1) Development of a material model for Nextel and Kevlar-Epoxy to enable numerical simulation of hypervelocity impacts on complex heavy protection shields for the International Space Station. (2) The influence of projectile shape on protection performance of Whipple Shields and how experimental problems in accelerating such shapes can be overcome by systematic numerical simulation. (3) The benefits of using metallic foams in "sandwich bumper shields" for spacecraft and how to approach systematic characterization of such materials.