Flame-Spreading Processes in a Small-Caliber Gun

Report No. ARL-TR-4181
Authors: Albert W. Horst and Paul J. Conroy
Date/Pages: July 2007; 25 pages
Abstract: The interior ballistic cycle of small guns (40 mm and below) has in the past been typically modeled with the use of lumped parameter codes that assume instantaneous ignition of the entire propelling charge followed by uniform combustion throughout the chamber at each instant in time, with the burning rate governed by an instantaneous space-mean pressure. In this study, a two-phase flow approach is employed to model the interior ballistics of a generic 5.56-mm gun, focusing on the ignition and flame-spreading dynamics in the gun chamber, the formation of gas and intergranular stress waves, and the ultimate effect of these processes on gun performance. Results suggest that the flame-spreading portion of the cycle plays a significant role in the overall phenomenology occurring within such guns, outside the scope of lumped parameter analysis. Approaches for exploiting this improved understanding of small-caliber interior ballistic phenomenology are identified, with respect to improved performance and safety.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: July 1, 2007