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Reacting condensed phase explosives in direct contact

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Michael, Louisa 
Nikiforakis, Nikos 


In this article we present a new formulation and an associated algorithm for the simultaneous numerical simulation of multiple condensed phase explosives in direct contact with each other, which may also be confined by (or interacting with one or more) compliant inert materials. Examples include composite rate-stick (i.e. involving two explosives in contact) problems, interaction of shock waves with chemically-active particles in condensed-phase explosives and devices such as detonators and boosters. There are several formulations which address the compliant or structural response of confiners and particles due to detonations, but the direct interaction of explosives remains a challenge for most formulations and algorithms. The proposed formulation addresses this problem by extending the conservation laws and mixture rules of an existing hybrid formulation (suitable for solving problems involving the coexistence of reactants and products in an explosive mixture and its immiscible interaction with inert materials) to model the interaction of multiple explosive mixtures. An algorithm for the solution of the resulting system of partial differential equations is presented, which includes a new robust method for the retrieval of the densities of the constituents of each explosive mixture. This is achieved by means of a multi-dimensional root-finding algorithm which employs physical as well as mathematical considerations in order to converge to the correct solution. The algorithm is implemented in a hierarchical adaptive mesh refinement framework and validated against results from problems with known solutions. Additional case studies demonstrate that the method can simulate the interaction of detonation waves produced by military grade and commercial explosives in direct contact, each with its own distinct equation of state and reaction rate law.



Journal Title

Journal of Applied Physics

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Journal ISSN


Volume Title


American Institute of Physics

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Publisher URL

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (2277929)