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A stuffed Whipple shield for the Chinese space station

: Putzar, Robin; Zheng, Shigui; An, Jing; Hovland, Scott


International Journal of Impact Engineering 132 (2019), Art. 103304, 23 S.
ISSN: 0734-743X
Fraunhofer EMI ()
stuffed Whipple shield; hypervelocity impact test; ballistic limit equation; basalt fabric; aramid fabric

Nine successful hypervelocity impact tests between 3.1 and 7.9 km/s were performed on shield samples designated to be used onboard the future Chinese space station. Two types of shields were impact-tested: a three-layer shield consisting of a bumper, stuffing and the rear wall, and a two-layer shield. The two-layer shield configuration corresponds to the three-layer shield configuration with the bumper plate removed. The three-layer shield configuration investigated is comparable to both the ESA Columbus module debris shield and the NASA stuffed Whipple shield. A new ballistic limit equation (BLE), adopted from the NASA Nextel/Kevlar stuffed Whipple shield equation, was derived from the available experimental data for the three-layer shield. For the two-layer shield, there is not sufficient test data available for derivation of a BLE. The new BLE and a second BLE from CAST are analyzed and discussed. Overall, all BLE investigated are conservative. Considering the anticipated orbit of the Chinese space station, the CAST BLE is more conservative than the new BLE. The individual components of the shield are discussed shortly. Ballistic limit curves are given and compared against all available experimental data.