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Observations and simulations of the low velocity-to-hypervelocity impact crater transition for a range of penetrator densities into thick aluminum targets

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Projectile/target impact crater systems involving soda-lime glass/1100 aluminum, ferritic stainless steel/1100 aluminum, and tungsten carbide/1100 aluminum (corresponding to projectile densities of 2.2, 7.89, and ∼17 Mg (m3) at impact velocities ranging from 0.56 to 3.99 km/s were examined by light metallography, SEM, and TEM. Plots of crater depth/crater diameter ratio (p/D c) versus impact velocity exhibited anomalous humps with p/D c ranging from 0.8 to 5.5 between 1 and 2 km/s, with hypervelocity threshold or steady-state values of p/D c (>5 km/s) ranging from 0.4 to 1.0; with the p/D c values increasing with increasing projectile density in each case. This hump-shaped regime, with exaggerated target penetration depths, appears to occur because projectiles remain relatively intact and unfragmented. The crater geometry begins to change when the projectile fragmentation onset velocity (>2 km/s) is exceeded and fragmentation increases with increasing impact velocity. Computer simulations and validation of these simulations were developed which fairly accurately represented residual crater shapes/geometries and correlated experimentally measured microhardness maps with simulated residual yield stress contour maps. Validated computer simulations allowed representative extrapolations of impact craters well beyond the laboratory where melting and solidification occurred at the crater wall, especially for hypervelocity impact (>5 km/s).

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Valerio-Flores, O.L., Murr, L.E., Hernandez, V.S. et al. Observations and simulations of the low velocity-to-hypervelocity impact crater transition for a range of penetrator densities into thick aluminum targets. Journal of Materials Science 39, 6271–6289 (2004).

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