In this paper we introduce a computational model for the simulation of hypervelocity impact (HVI) phenomena which is based on the Discrete Element Method (DEM). Our paper constitutes the first application of DEM to the modeling and simulating of impact events for velocities beyond 5 kms−1. We present here the results of a systematic numerical study on HVI of solids. For modeling the solids, we use discrete spherical particles that interact with each other via potentials. In our numerical investigations we are particularly interested in the dynamics of material fragmentation upon impact. We model a typical HVI experiment configuration where a sphere strikes a thin plate and investigate the properties of the resulting debris cloud. We provide a quantitative computational analysis of the resulting debris cloud caused by impact and a comprehensive parameter study by varying key parameters of our model. We compare our findings from the simulations with recent HVI experiments performed at our institute. Our findings are that the DEM method leads to very stable, energy–conserving simulations of HVI scenarios that map the experimental setup where a sphere strikes a thin plate at hypervelocity speed. Our chosen interaction model works particularly well in the velocity range where the local stresses caused by impact shock waves markedly exceed the ultimate material strength.
discrete element method; hypervelocity impact; debris cloud; fragmentation; space debris; multiscale modeling; computer simulation; high performance computing
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