Energy Partitioning and Impulse Dispersion in the Decorated, Tapered, Strongly Nonlinear Granular Alignment: A System With Many Potential Applications

Report No. ARL-RP-289
Authors: Robert L. Doney; Juan H. Agui; Surajit Sen
Date/Pages: March 2010; 20 pages
Abstract: Rapid absorption of impulses using light-weight, small, reusable systems is a challenging problem. An axially aligned set of progressively shrinking elastic spheres, a "tapered chain," has been shown to be a versatile and scalable shock absorber in earlier simulational, theoretical, and experimental works by several authors. We have recently shown (see R. L. Doney and S. Sen, Phys. Rev. Lett. 97, 155502 (2006)) that the shock absorption ability of a tapered chain can be dramatically enhanced by placing small interstitial grains between the regular grains in the tapered chain systems. Here we focus on a detailed study of the problem introduced in the above mentioned letter, present extensive dynamical simulations using parameters for a titanium-aluminum-vanadium alloy Ti6Al4V, derive attendant hard-sphere analyses based formulae to describe energy dispersion, and finally discuss some preliminary experimental results using systems with chrome spheres and small Nitinol interstitial grains to present the underlying nonlinear dynamics of this so-called decorated tapered granular alignment. We are specifically interested in small systems, comprised of several grains. This is because in real applications, mass and volume occupied must inevitably be minimized. Our conclusion is that the decorated tapered chain offers enhanced energy dispersion by locking in much of the input energy in the grains of the tapered chain rather than in the small interstitial grains. Thus, the present study offers insights into how the shock absorption capabilities of these systems can be pushed even further by improving energy absorption capabilities of the larger grains in the tapered chains. We envision that these scalable, decorated tapered chains may be used as shock absorbing components in body armor, armored vehicles, building applications and in perhaps even in applications in rehabilitation science.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: March 1, 2010