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Strength of Tantalum at High Pressures through Richtmyer-Meshkov Laser Compression Experiments and Simulations


John, Kristen Kathleen (2014) Strength of Tantalum at High Pressures through Richtmyer-Meshkov Laser Compression Experiments and Simulations. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/NE7Y-CK04.

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Strength at extreme pressures (>1 Mbar or 100 GPa) and high strain rates (106-108 s-1) of materials is not well characterized. The goal of the research outlined in this thesis is to study the strength of tantalum (Ta) at these conditions. The Omega Laser in the Laboratory for Laser Energetics in Rochester, New York is used to create such extreme conditions. Targets are designed with ripples or waves on the surface, and these samples are subjected to high pressures using Omega’s high energy laser beams. In these experiments, the observational parameter is the Richtmyer-Meshkov (RM) instability in the form of ripple growth on single-mode ripples. The experimental platform used for these experiments is the “ride-along” laser compression recovery experiments, which provide a way to recover the specimens having been subjected to high pressures. Six different experiments are performed on the Omega laser using single-mode tantalum targets at different laser energies. The energy indicates the amount of laser energy that impinges the target. For each target, values for growth factor are obtained by comparing the profile of ripples before and after the experiment. With increasing energy, the growth factor increased.

Engineering simulations are used to interpret and correlate the measurements of growth factor to a measure of strength. In order to validate the engineering constitutive model for tantalum, a series of simulations are performed using the code Eureka, based on the Optimal Transportation Meshfree (OTM) method. Two different configurations are studied in the simulations: RM instabilities in single and multimode ripples. Six different simulations are performed for the single ripple configuration of the RM instability experiment, with drives corresponding to laser energies used in the experiments. Each successive simulation is performed at higher drive energy, and it is observed that with increasing energy, the growth factor increases. Overall, there is favorable agreement between the data from the simulations and the experiments. The peak growth factors from the simulations and the experiments are within 10% agreement. For the multimode simulations, the goal is to assist in the design of the laser driven experiments using the Omega laser. A series of three-mode and four-mode patterns are simulated at various energies and the resulting growth of the RM instability is computed. Based on the results of the simulations, a configuration is selected for the multimode experiments. These simulations also serve as validation for the constitutive model and the material parameters for tantalum that are used in the simulations.

By designing samples with initial perturbations in the form of single-mode and multimode ripples and subjecting these samples to high pressures, the Richtmyer-Meshkov instability is investigated in both laser compression experiments and simulations. By correlating the growth of these ripples to measures of strength, a better understanding of the strength of tantalum at high pressures is achieved.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:strength of materials; extreme pressure; high pressure; high strain rates; tantalum; laser experiment; target design; ripple growth; high energy; Rayleigh-Taylor; Richtmyer-Meshkov; instability; laser compression; growth factor; engineering constitutive model; Eureka simulations; Omega laser
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Ravichandran, Guruswami
Thesis Committee:
  • Ortiz, Michael (chair)
  • Kochmann, Dennis M.
  • Bhattacharya, Kaushik
  • Ravichandran, Guruswami
Defense Date:30 August 2013
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE NNSA SSGF)UNSPECIFIED
NNSA Predictive Science Academic Alliance Program (PSAAP)UNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:08092014-195153430
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8630
Deposited By: Kristen John
Deposited On:12 Aug 2014 15:49
Last Modified:02 Nov 2021 19:30

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