ARL's innovative technique combines experiments with computational science to answer 30-year ballistic question

October 29, 2012

Story Highlights

  • Two senior research physicists won best paper at major ballistic symposium. Research results will help the Army better understand the basic physics underlying ballistics.
  • Duo also wins 2012 ARL Protection Division Best Paper and Hyper Velocity Impact Symposium Best Paper

Dr. W. Casey Uhlig and Dr. Charles Hummer, both senior research physicists in the Applied Physics Branch of the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate's Protection Division, co-authored the Annual Joint Classified Ballistic Symposium's best paper "In-flight Temperature Measurements of a Copper Shaped Charge Jet."

The duo, initially recognized during the 2012 session, was presented awards during a special ceremony at Aberdeen Proving Ground on Oct. 2.

"This work answers a question that has eluded scientists for over thirty years," said Barbara Ringers, chief of the Laboratory's Applied Physics Branch. "What is the temperature of a shaped charge jet shortly after formation?"

Uhlig and Hummer created and demonstrated an innovative new diagnostic technique, which is an elegant fusion of computational, experimental, and theoretical methods that was used to identify the temperature distribution of a copper jet to be 1050?1250 degrees Kelvin.

These techniques and data will help the Army better understand the basic physics underlying ballistics.

"The foundation of this work is based on a brilliant idea Chuck had a decade ago," said Uhlig, who joined ARL in 2006. "Whenever you have anything like this happen, it's a huge team effort."

Ringers said the scientific rigor of their work, which involved a seamless integration of simple experimental technology with a sophisticated computational method, will lead to the development of more accurate models.

The diagnostic method uses magnetic diffusion measurements in conjunction with a unique theoretical model developed by the authors. The method allows one to determine with high accuracy the temperature of a wide range of discreet hypervelocity projectiles.

Up until this effort, the most cited answer to this fundamental property comes from a spectroscopic study performed in the late 1970s that had error bars of several hundred Kelvin, Ringers said.

Uhlig and Hummer's publication also won the ARL Protection Division best paper and a publication on related research won them the Hypervelocity Impact Symposium best paper, both for 2012.


Last Update / Reviewed: October 29, 2012