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Evaluation of the James Initiation Criterion in the 21mm and 50mm PMMA Gap Test

: Wurster, S.


Propellants, explosives, pyrotechnics 42 (2017), Nr.7, S.749-753
ISSN: 0340-7462
ISSN: 0721-3115
ISSN: 1521-4087
Fraunhofer ICT ()

The gap test has been used for several decades as a measure for the shock sensitivity of high explosives. Normally the axial pressure in the gap is used as the necessary initiation pressure of a high explosive for a shock to detonation transition. But it has been shown in the past that the pressure in the gap is not a suitable measure for shock sensitivity and other criteria like the James criterion in terms of critical energy fluence and critical specific kinetic energy should be used. To evaluate the James criterion in the 21mm and 50mm polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) gap test numerical simulations are conducted. To validate the simulations a 21mm water gap test is simulated and compared to experimental results, where the axial pressure calibration can be reproduced with high accuracy. With the results from the simulation of the 21mm and 50mm gap test it is shown that at the same maximum axial pressure the energy fluence is higher in the 50mm gap test. This explains to some extent the higher initiation pressures observed in smaller gap tests. The James criterion is derived and it is shown that the two gap tests probe very different regions in the energy fluence vs. specific kinetic energy plane. The results can be used as a calibration for the gap tests and are intended to improve the comparability of gap test results among each other and with different initiation experiments like flyer or heavy fragment impact testing.