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Gaseous Detonation Initiation and Stabilization by Hypervelocity Projectiles


Kaneshige, Michael Jiro (1999) Gaseous Detonation Initiation and Stabilization by Hypervelocity Projectiles. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/GBE9-FG37.


An experimental investigation of gaseous detonations initiated and stabilized by high-speed spherical projectiles has been carried out. Detonation initiation by projectiles is closely related to propulsion concepts such as the ram accelerator and the oblique detonation wave engine, in which, theoretically, rapid combustion occurs in detonation waves stabilized on solid objects. The criteria for initiation and stabilization by projectiles are also related to other initiation and propagation criteria such as blast initiation and failure of diffracting detonations. Experimental data of this type are useful for identifying relevant assumptions and important processes, and for providing validation for computational and analytical models.

Experiments were performed in the Caltech T5 shock tunnel laboratory. T5 was used in a shock-compression light gas gun mode, with 25.4-mm diameter nylon spheres and velocities around 2300 m/s. Gaseous mixtures studied included 2H₂+O₂+βN₂ (1 ≤ β ≤ 3.76), C₂H4+3O₂+5N₂, and C₂H₂+2.5O₂+9.4N₂ at initial pressures of 0.08 - 2.56 bar. Flow visualization results obtained by differential interferometry, shadowgraphy, and intensified CCD imaging were augmented by wall pressure records.

A wide variety of results were observed, including non-detonative shock-induced combustion, unstably initiated detonations, stabilized prompt initiations, and stabilized delayed initiations. These results can be roughly correlated in terms of the ratio of projectile velocity to mixture Chapman-Jouguet detonation speed, and the ratio of projectile diameter to detonation cell size or reaction zone thickness, although the effects of confinement and unsteadiness complicate this categorization.

Two basic approaches to modeling the results have been attempted. In the first, a global model for initiation is based on an existing blast-initiation model using the hypersonic blast-wave analogy. This model is simple, and roughly predicts the experimental results, but suffers from a number of assumptions and approximations that restrict its usefulness and accuracy. The second approach, based on the local shock curvature, is not directly capable of predicting global initiation and failure, but illustrates the mechanism responsible for decoupling of the reaction zone from the shock front in cases of detonation failure. Coupled with a separate model for the shock shape, shock-curvature theory can be used for quantitative global predictions.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Mechanical Engineering
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Mechanical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Shepherd, Joseph E.
Group:Explosion Dynamics Laboratory
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:26 January 1999
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-11122003-144510
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:4522
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:14 Nov 2003
Last Modified:15 Jan 2021 22:49

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PDF (Kaneshige_mj_1999.pdf) - Final Version
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