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DYMAT 2009 (2009) 1245–1250

Ó EDP Sciences, 2009

DOI: 10.1051/dymat/2009175

The use of symmetric Taylor impact to validate constitutive

models for an fcc metal (copper) and a bcc alloy (RHA steel)
L.C. Forde1, S.M. Walley1, M. Peyton-Jones1, W.G. Proud1, I.G. Cullis2
and P.D. Church2

SMF Fracture and Shock Physics Group, Cavendish Laboratory, J.J. Thomson Avenue,
Cambridge CB3 0HE, UK
QinetiQ plc, Fort Halstead, Sevenoaks, Kent TN14 7BP, UK

Abstract. Symmetric Taylor impacts of copper and RHA rods were performed using a light gas
gun. High-speed photography was used in back illumination to obtain silhouette sequences of the
deforming rods. Predictions were then made of the rod profiles using an Armstrong-Zerilli path-
dependent model within a Lagrangian finite element code. These predictions were then compared
with the experiments and excellent agreement found for both materials.

Taylor impact was devised by G.I. Taylor and co-workers in the late 1930s [1, 2] as a quick and
easy method of estimating the dynamic flow stress of materials in compression. In recent years it
has been revived as a stringent test of material constitutive models in hydrocodes. The reason for
its use is that the loading conditions within an impacting rod range over large strain shock-loading
at the impact face to low strain dynamic elasticity at the rear. If a constitutive model can
accurately model the development of the rod profile during impact and the propagation of elastic
waves within the rod, then we may have confidence that the model has good predictive capabilities
in situations of interest where it is harder to obtain data.
‘Classical’ Taylor impact consists of firing a rod normally against a massive anvil. The analysis
assumes that the anvil neither moves nor deforms as a result of the impact. The second assumption
(infinite rigidity) cannot be achieved in reality. And indeed the photographs that G.I. Taylor
published of cylinders recovered after impact clearly show that the anvil must have indented
plastically [2]. His photographs also show that there was considerable friction at the impact
interface. However, if a rod of the material of interest is fired coaxially against another rod of the
same material, the two rods deform without slip and the impact interface remains plane [3]. This is
the closest it is possible to get experimentally to the ideal of frictionless impact on a perfectly rigid
target. Ideally the two rods would both be fired in opposite directions, but this has proved
impossible so far to achieve experimentally. So ‘symmetric’ Taylor impact is performed by firing
one rod against a similar stationary one. This has another advantage that the stationary rod
can be instrumented with stress and/or strain gauges [4]. If available, velocity interferometry
(e.g. VISAR) [5] can also be used to measure the particle velocity at the free end of the impacted
rod. These extra diagnostics form a further check on the validity of the constitutive model under
For metals, it is important to perform experiments for the major classes of crystal structure:
fcc, bcc and hcp. These are described by substantially different constitutive different relations [6, 7]
and exhibit major differences in their response to impact [8]. The fundamental reason for this is the
different mobilities of their screw dislocations [9]. This paper is concerned with an fcc metal (XM
C103 copper, more than 99% pure) and a bcc metal (rolled homogeneous armour (RHA) steel).
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The experiments were performed in a 50 mm diameter single bore light gas-gun [10]. A schematic
of the experimental arrangement used to hold the stationary target rods is given in Figure 1. An
air gap was machined in the polycarbonate block used to hold the rods in position so that the
rear surface of the rod was free. Since the plastic deformation front does not reach the rear of the
rod during the period of observation (ca. 100 ms) and elastic waves can reflect from the (almost)
free rear surface, we felt this mounting design was a good compromise between the necessity
of mounting the rods rigidly and yet not significantly affecting the deformation it was desired to

Figure 1. Schematic diagram of the specimen mount used for performing the symmetric Taylor impact

The projectile rod was mounted rigidly within a hole in a polycarbonate sabot. The hole was
machined in a similar manner to that shown in Figure 1 so that the rear of the rod as mostly a free
surface except for a small lip around its perimeter. The alignment was checked before firing by
placing the projectile in the end of the barrel and then mounting the target rod in the impact
chamber. The rods were then brought together and so that any mismatch could be corrected for
directly. To avoid movement of the target rod after the completion of this process, the sabot and
rod were drawn back down the barrel to the launch position using a vacuum pump. To maintain
the alignment during collision the impact between the rods occurred while the sabot was still
partly in the gun barrel. This avoids the yaw or pitch inevitably produced by sabot-strippers.
An Ultranac FS501 image converter camera [11] was used for all these experiments. It is
capable of taking 24 frames, each frame being individually programmable with respect to
exposure and interframe times. Illumination was provided by a flash unit which takes 100 ms to
rise to peak illumination but then provides constant illumination for ca. 500 ms. The flash was used
to backlight the event giving a sequence of silhouettes.
As high accuracy was required in measuring the rod diameter from the photographs, a
transparent sheet grating with a line spacing of 2 mm was positioned 5–10 mm beyond the rod, i.e.
far enough behind the deforming rod that it would not be displaced during the time the high-speed
photographic sequence was being captured. The diameter of the undeformed rod can be used to
obtain the scaling factor for the grid in the plane of the impact. The use of a grid also overcomes
any slight magnification differences (f1%) between frames due to distortion produced by the
DYMAT 2009 1247


The experiment on copper that is presented in Figure 2 has previously been analyzed using a
Lagrangian code [12] and an Armstrong-Zerilli model modified to take account of path-
dependency (history effects) [6, 7, 12]. Since that work, the constitutive model has continued to be
refined. So it was decided to model the experiment again using a Eulerian code (GRIM) developed
by researchers in QinetiQ. Results for a similar experiment performed on RHA steel are presented
in Figure 3.

Figure 2. Selected frames from the high speed photographic sequence of the coaxial impact of a 100 mm long,
10 mm diameter copper rod at 395 m sx1 on another copper rod of the same dimensions. The times of each
frame are measured from the time of impact.

Figure 3. Selected frames from the high speed photographic sequence of the coaxial impact of a 100 mm long,
10 mm diameter RHA steel rod at 494 m sx1 on another RHA rod of the same dimensions. The times of each
frame are measured from the time of impact.

The frames shown in Figures 2 and 3 were digitised so that the profiles of both the impacting
and target rods could be determined. As there is an uncertainty of about 0.5 mm in the lateral
position within the fiducial plane, the simulated and experimental profiles are compared at the
impact plane (see Figures 4 and 5).
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(a) (b)

Figure 4. Comparison of experiment and simulation for the profiles of the copper rod shown deforming in
Figure 2. (a) 12 ms after impact. (b) 52 ms after impact. The vertical scale is exaggerated relative to the

An outline of the modified path-dependent Armstrong-Zerilli constitutive model [6, 7, 8, 12]

used to model copper in this work is given below. Because copper is an fcc metal, its mechanical
behaviour depends on its previous thermal and mechanical history. To describe this, Church and
co-workers postulated an equation of the form given in equation (1). This contains the state
variable, an irreversible variable, and various independent variables.
mT @e
 ¼ C0 þ fðeÞ þ
s st w ;T ð1Þ
m0 @t
where st is a strain-hardening function which depends upon the strain rate and temperature
at which deformation takes place, e (the plastic strain) is the irreversible variable, @e/@t and T
(the strain rate and temperature) are independent variables, C0 is the flow stress at zero state
variable, mT is the shear modulus at temperature T. s t contains the information that describes the
path-dependency of the flow stress. The temperature dependence of mT has been found to be of the
linear form m0(1 xaT) where a is a known constant.
Experiments have shown that for fcc metals, f(e) = 0. The function w is taken to be of the
Armstrong-Zerilli form [13]:
w ¼ expfT½C3 þ C4lnð@ e=@tÞg: ð2Þ
where C3 and C4 are constants. As st is the path-dependent part of the model and since it
describes the deformation history, it can be used as a state variable. This implies that st depends
upon the previous deformation conditions but not on the strain rate and temperature at which it is
measured. Now since at any point along the rod only the gradient of the st vs. e curve is affected
by the local conditions of strain rate and temperature, if in two rods of the same material the
same value of s t is reached by two different deformation paths, the two rods will be in the same
state at that point.
The effect of temperature is derived the following observations: (i) if the material is deformed
to a certain plastic strain at temperature T1 and then the temperature is changed to another
temperature T2, the gradient will change to the value that it would possess at the same value of the
state variable if the deformation had occurred entirely at temperature T2. If no further change in
the independent variables occurs, then the gradient will continue as would be expected at T2 but at
a higher value of plastic strain. That is to say the horizontal distance between the two curves will
remain constant; (ii) if deformation is performed at constant strain rate and temperature then at
DYMAT 2009 1249

some strain the state variable will reach a maximum value due to the competition between
dislocation generation due to stress and dislocation annihilation due to recovery. This maximum
value is termed saturation.
The above conditions allow a formulation for s t to be made. The properties of path-
dependency are adequately described by:
@st st
¼ h 1 ð3Þ
@e g;h g
where g represents the saturation value of the state variable and is given by equation (4):
ð@ e=@tÞ
g¼k ð4Þ
ð@ e=@ eÞ0
where k, S and (@e/@t)0 are constants. h is found to vary approximately linearly with strain rate.
Equation (3) is empirical, as indeed are all descriptions of state variable behaviour. The
advantages of this particular form are that it can be integrated and that it allows a non-iterative
solution. Values for the parameters of the model outlined above may be found in reference [7].
Note the parameters were obtained from a variety of other experiments.

(a) (b)

(c) (d)

Figure 5. Comparison of experiment and simulation for the profiles of the RHA steel rods shown deforming
in Figure 3. (a) 9.5 ms after impact. (b) 17.5 ms after impact. (c) 33.5 ms after impact. (d) 145.5 ms after impact.
The vertical scale is exaggerated relative to the horizontal.
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Integrating equation (3) at constant strain rate and temperature between strain limits of 0 and
e and state variable limits of 0 and st we obtain:
st e
¼ 1  hfa  1g þ 1 ð5Þ
g g
Although this has been integrated at constant values of the independent variables, its form is
such that it is valid for all strain rates and temperatures for which the behaviour described above
holds. It represents a family of master curves, one for each strain rate.
Using the above formalism, the experiment was treated as a two-dimensional axisymmetric
problem. The agreement between experiment and simulation for copper can be seen to be
excellent. The agreement for RHA steel is good up until around 40 ms into the impact when an
asymmetry develops in the deformation. This is probably due to the experiment not being
perfectly coaxial. Non-coaxiality was not taken into account in the simulation. The results
presented here increase our confidence in the predictive capability of the constitutive model for
these two classes of metals.

The research reported in this paper was funded by the British Ministry of Defence. We would like to thank
past and present members of the Cavendish Laboratory’s workshops for assistance with the design and
construction of apparatus and specimens required for these experiments. LCF was supervised initially by
Dr (now Professor) N.K. Bourne before his move to Cranfield University and then by Professor J.E. Field
and Dr W.G. Proud.


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