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Expansion of Cylindrical Shells Subjected to

Internal Explosive Detonations

by R. L. Martineau, C. A. Anderson and F. W. Smith

ABSTRACT--Two explosively loaded cylindrical shell exper- continue to grow as the transition region between the com-
iments were conducted to provide experimental data for pressive and tensile hoop stress moves inward. The cracks
benchmarking numerical codes. Each shell was subjected will not penetrate to the inner surface until the entire shell is
to internal high-explosive detonations, which caused it to ex- in tension.
pand outwardly at strain rates on the order of 104 s -1. At In 1967, Slate and colleagues3 concluded that thicker
approximately 150 percent strain, multiple plastic instabilities shells showed more surface cracking and higher strains at rup-
appeared on the surface of these shells in a quasi-periodic
ture. Hoggatt and Recht4 developed a mathematical model
pattern. These instabilities continued to develop into bands
of localized shear and eventually formed cracks before caus- assuming the fractures occur along lines of maximum shear.
ing the shell to fragment. Diagnostic equipment on these ex- They also observed different types of fractures based on the
periments included a Fabry-Perot interferometer and a fast- amount of high explosive (HE) and the detonation pressures.
framing camera. The experiments and the data obtained from At low detonation pressures, deep cracks formed on the outer
the diagnostic equipment are discussed and illustrated. surface before unstable shear zones began to develop. At high
detonation pressures, the compressive hoop stress from the
KEY WORDS--Dynamic testing, fracture mechanics, im-
pact/shock analysis, rate effects, viscoplasticity detonation retarded the growth of cracks and the unstable
shear zones formed earlier, and as a result, larger shear zones
were observed on the fragments. Wesenberg and Sagartz 5
Introduction analyzed the expansion of thin cylindrical shells at strain
The elastic/viscoplastic behavior of materials is an area rates of 104 s-1. They discussed the radial expansion of the
of study that encompasses a variety of scientific disciplines cylinders and their fracture by providing a numerical solution
with industrial and military applications. Applications for to Mott's 6 fracture equation. Wesenberg and Sagartz com-
such research include hypervelocity accelerators, flux com- pared Mott's probabilistic analysis with experimental data,
pression generators, fragmenting munitions and explosive and the two were reasonably close. They also observed that
containment vessels for terrorist threats and power plants. the number of fragments decreases with material density and
When a thin-walled cylindrical flux generator is subjected decreasing strain rate or detonation pressure.
to an internal explosion, a significant amount of high strain In the early experimental literature, particularly before the
rate radial expansion occurs prior to failure by fragmentation. 1970s, the material used in experiments was not carefully
Documented experimental studies on the high strain rate ex- characterized or documented, and as a result, little is known
pansion and failure of ductile shells began in the 1940s and about the grain size and hardness of the materials, thus mak-
tapered off in the 1970s with the advent of the computer. ing it difficult to duplicate the experimental results or use
This paper describes a carefully planned set of experiments the results for comparison with numerical simulations. Sev-
whose primary purpose is to provide data, which will be used eral authors have examined instabilities associated with both
to benchmark the numerical simulations. uniaxial and biaxial stress under quasi-static conditions, but
In 1943, Gurney 1 developed a widely used analytical most have not considered materials subjected to multiaxial
model for predicting the terminal velocities of fragments stress states or strain rates on the order of 104 s -1. The re-
from shells subjected to internal explosive detonations. The search presented here provides a detailed description of the
failure of cylindrical structures was again examined in 1944 material and presents data obtained from two sophisticated
as a fragmentation problem by Taylor. 2 Taylor proposed that experiments. Data of the type presented here are limited in
at the start of the radial expansion, the hoop stress throughout the open literature and are needed to verify and benchmark
the thickness of the shellis compressive. Eventually, the hoop numerical models.
stress on the outer surface becomes tensile while still being In this research, ABAQUS/Explicit7 and a newly devel-
compressive on the inner surface. At this point, longitudi- oped viscoplastic material subroutine8 were used to numer-
nal cracks form on the outer surface of the shell. These cracks ically model the expanding shell. ABAQUS is a commer-
cially available Lagrangian finite element package with an
HE burn model. The ABAQUS HE subroutine is based on
the program burn model and the Jones-Wilkens-Lee equation
R. L. Martineau is a Staff Member, and C. A. Anderson is a Staff Member,
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545. E W. Smith is a of state. During the solution process, ABAQUS calculates an
Professor, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523. increment in strain based on the boundary conditions (such as
Original manuscript submitted: May 12, 1999.
an increment in load) and the previous state of stress. This in-
Final manuscript received: February 5, 2000. crement in strain is passed to the VUMAT subroutine, which

Experimental Mechanics 9 219

updates the state of stress in the material. The constitutive
model has several modules that are used to predict shock
effects, plasticity, void growth and strength. Plots comparing
the numerical predictions and experimental data are shown in
this paper; more detailed discussions of the numerical model
are provided in Ref. 8.

Cylinder Experiments
Two nearly identical dynamic experiments were con-
ducted as part of this research, with the wall thickness of
the cylindrical shells being the only variable changed be-
tween the two experiments. Each shell was fabricated from
alloy 101 OFE (oxygen-free-electronic)copper. OFE copper
is easy to obtain in a carefully controlled high-purity form,
and its high strain rate behavior and plastic deformation are
well understood. PBX-9501 was used as the HE inside of
each shell, and the experimental configuration was identical
for each experiment.
The largest diameter of small-grain, OFE copper tubing
available had a 114.3 mm outer diameter with a 6.35 mm
wall thickness. This dictated the overall geometry of the
experiments. After machining, the smallest inner diameter
obtainable was 102.06 ram. This allowed for one cylinder to
be 2.54 mm thick and the other to be 5.08 mm thick. The
overall length of both cylinders was 406.4 mm. The dimen-
sions of the two cylinders are summarized in Table 1. Fig. 1--Copper shell and high-explosive assemblies
The initial grain size in the copper tubing was 35-40 txm,
with a hardness of 80 on the Rockwell F scale. A small sam-
ple of the material was sectioned off and heat was treated to instabilities that occurred during the deformation. In addi-
350~ to determine the rate and degree of softening attain- tion, the grid is useful for determining the overall strain from
able in the material. After 60 minutes, the microstructure of the framing camera pictures. The HE was approximately
the copper was approximately the same size. The hardness 7.3 kg, and the thick and thin copper cylinders were 6.2 kg
of the material was now 23 on the Rockwell F scale, indi- and 3.0 kg, respectively.
cating the release of residual energy. The surface finish on Two forms of diagnostics were used in the experiments: a
the cylinders was carefully controlled to minimize perturba- fast framing camera and a Fabry-Perot interferometer. Fabry-
tions and initiation sites for instabilities. Surface finishes, as Perot is capable of recording radial velocity information at a
defined by ANSI B46.1-1962, of 16 and 32 were maintained single point on the surface of the expanding cylinder. The fast
on the outside and inside surfaces, respectively. In addition, framing camera diagnostic provides 25 photographic images
a concentricity tolerance of 0.05 mm was maintained during of the expanding cylinder at predetermined increments in
the fabrication process. time. The hoop strain and the development of the instabilities
A solid circular cylinder of HE with a diameter of observed on the surface of the expanding shell can then be
101.8 mm was positioned inside of the copper cylinders. A extracted from the photographs and plotted as a function of
0.127 mm clearance was prescribed between the HE and the time.
cylinder to provide an adequate gap for assembly. The HE Figure 2 shows the experimental setup. All dimensions
was centered in the cylinder and bonded to several small are indicated in meters. A large plywood box filled with ver-
shims located at each end. A plane wave lens was bonded to miculite and asphalt sheeting was used to "soft catch" the
one end of the HE cylinder, as shown in Fig. 1. The plane fragments, and sandbags were used to support the plywood
wave lens, which is a cone fabricated from two types of HE, box and minimize blast-induced deflections. The HE-filled
was detonated at the apex with an SE-1 detonator. The burn copper cylinder or "shot" was placed on the shot stand in
times of the two different types of HE in the plane wave lens an inverted configuration. The plane wave lens and detona-
produce a planer detonation wave by the time the wave front tor were located on the bottom so that the detonation trav-
reaches the base of the cone. Once a plane wave front is eled vertically from the bottom toward the top of the cylin-
established, it will propagate longitudinally through the HE der. Thus, the shot stand helped to contain the detonation
and remain planar as long as there are no significant material by-products.
or geometric transitions. The transition from the plane wave During the explosion, the shot was illuminated using two
lens to the solid cylinder of HE was improved by extending argon flash candles. Flash candles are plywood boxes lined
the HE 5.08 cm beyond the end of the copper shell. This with detasheet, which is rubberized HE with distinct wind-
helped to ensure a stable plane wave detonation inside the ing burn patterns. The HE is ignited at one end, and the
copper cylinders. The final assemblies are shown in Fig. 1. burn front follows the pattern much like a fuse, resulting in a
The copper cylinders have a grid with distinguishing bright light and long burn times. The timing of the illumina-
marks on the outer surface. These marks provide a contrast- tion was carefully coupled with the shutter timing on the fast
ing surface, making it easier to identify the quasi-periodic framing camera. The fast framing camera was located below

220 ,, VoL 40, No. 2, June 2000

Length Inner Diameter Wall Thick Outer Diameter
(mm) (mm) (mm) (ram)
Thin cylinder 406.4 102.06 2.54 107.14
Thick cylinder 406.4 102.06 5.08 112.22

I-, ,813 ~' /SANDBAGS

1,075 ='

TURNING~ ~ .......... SHOT--~ PLYWOOD BOX 1

MIRROR" ~ .305 ............ .___.N_.:_._.
/ ......... ................................ /

, , 1
Fig. 2--Elevation view of the experimentalsetup

the surface in a bunker and viewed the experiment through The radial displacement data were extracted at eight points
an optical port. The turning mirror shown in Fig. 2 was used along the longitudinal axis of the cylinder. Each point was
to correct the camera's line of sight. separated by 50.8 mm, with the first point located 50.8 mm
up from the detonated end. The data for the 2.54 mm and
Experimental Results 5.08 mm thick cylinders are shown in Figs. 5 and 6 at 29.3 t~s
and 49.7 Ixs, respectively.
The first experiment was conducted using the thick cylin- The outward radial displacement of the copper cylinder
der. In this experiment, the Fabry-Perot equipment experi- experiments is plotted versus time in Figs. 7 and 8. The dis-
enced a hardware failure and did not record data. However, placement curves shown in each of these figures were taken
the fast framing camera performed as expected. Twenty- at eight different longitudinal locations on the cylinder wall.
three images with a frame interval time of 2.257 Ixs were The locations, which were measured from the detonated end
recorded. The second experiment was conducted using the of the cylinder, are shown in the text on the right-hand side
thin cylinder, and all of the diagnostic equipment performed of the figures. The numerically predicted displacements are
as expected. Again, the frame interval time of the fast framing also shown in Figs. 7 and 8. Good agreement between the
camera was 2.257 txs, and 23 images were recorded. Ten of numerical results and the experimental data is evident in each
the 23 fast framing camera images, which were taken during figure.
the expansion of the thin cylinder, are shown in Fig. 3. Gurney 1 developed an equation for predicting the maxi-
The photos in Fig. 3 provide radial displacement data mum velocity, Vmax,of shells subjected to internal explosive
as a function of time and axial position along the cylinder. detonations. Gurney's equation for a cylindrical shell is writ-
They also provide data on the number of surface instabili- ten as
ties present as a function of time. Each photograph from the
fast framing camera was digitized and enlarged to determine
Vmax = + , (1)
the number of instabilities for a small characteristic length
on the surface of the cylinder. This length and the number
of instabilities were then used to estimate the total number where M/C is the ratio of the mass of the shell to the mass
of instabilities on the entire circumference of the shell. The of the explosive and is called the Gurney constant. The em-
instabilities observed on the surface of the expanding cylin- pirical constant, ~/2E, was determined from experiments in-
der occur in a pattern that propagates down the longitudinal volving a particular type of explosive. For PBX-9501,
axis of the cylinder. An enlarged picture of the last frame is equal to 2900 m/s. Table 2 gives the calculated values of
is shown in Fig. 4. The image in this figure is rotated 90 the Gurney velocity for the experiments conducted in this
deg counterclockwise for illustration purposes. The quasi- research.
periodic pattern of instabilities is most prevalent on the black Figure 9 shows the velocity of the cylinder wall for the
lines shown inside the dark circle of this figure. The hoop 2.54 mm thick cylinders. The plots shown in this figure in-
strain at the center of the dark circle is on the order of 150 clude the velocities from the empirical Gurney equation, the
percent. At any longitudinal location on the cylinder, the Fabry-Perot instrumentation for the thin-walled cylinders and
total number of instabilities on the surface of the thick and the numerical model. The Fabry-Perot was positioned or-
thin expanding shells was calculated from photos such as that thogonal to the surface, which moves radially outward at a
shown in Fig. 4 to be 298 and 343, respectively. The error 19-deg angle from the longitudinal axis of the cylinder. A
in this calculation is within -t-10 percent using the method similar graph for the 5.08 mm thick shell is not presented
explained in Ref. 8. here due to hardware failure on the part of the Fabry-Perot

ExpefimentalMechanics 9 221
Time (its) 0.0 6.771 13.542 20.313 27.084

Time (~ts) 33.855 38.369 40.626 45.14 49.654

Fig. 3~Fast framing camera images for the thin cylinder

Fig. 4--View of instabilities on expanding thin cylinder

...... Thick Cylinder
Thin Cylinder E
./~ /~ /
4O E
~* /i ~

~1)~ 4, 3O ~-
2O -~


, , 0
450 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0
A x i a l Position from Detonated End (ram)

Fig. 5--Deformed geometry of both cylinders at 29.3 I~S

222 * VoI. 4~ No, ~ June2000

- - - . - - - Thick Cylinder
120 .-.
- - - . - - - Thin Cylinder E
100 "-"

.t ........ I 80 E
. 9'~'" " .0""
60 ~.
. .,1~" .r 40 "~


450 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0

Axial Position from Detonated End (mm)
Fig. 6--Deformed geometry of both cylinders at 49.7 IXS

120 50.8
. . . . . Numerical Results
E 100 Experimental Data 101.6 ~-
152.4 ~
"Q) 80
o 203.2 Q
~= 60
._~ 254.0 ~
cl 40
._m 304.8 ~
20 355.6
0 i i

0 10 20 30 40 50
Time (its)
Fig. 7--Radial displacement as a function of time at eight locations along the longitudinal axis of the 2.54 mm thick cylinder


Mass of HE Mass of Shell Villa1{
(kg/m) (kg/m) M/C (m/s)
2.54 mm thick shell 14.98 7.46 0.498 2902
5.08 mm thick shell 14.98 15.29 1.02 2351

instrumentation. The steps shown in the experimental data slug of composition C-4 explosive, which was 7.62 cm long
illustrate the shock reflecting through the wall of the cylinder. and 1.27 cm in diameter, was placed inside the top lip of the
The effort to "soft catch" fragments for microscopic exam- copper cylinder. The C-4 was end detonated, and the explo-
ination was unsuccessful because the setups shown in Fig. 2 sive shock wave traveled down the inside of the cylinder. The
were destroyed by the HE charge. A third, less sophisti- shock wave reflected off the surface of the sand, resulting in
cated experiment was conducted in an attempt to obtain a an internal overpressure. The overpressure caused the cylin-
bulged copper sample illustrating the development of insta- der to bulge and fracture, but not fragment. A picture of the
bilities prior to fragmentation. This experiment consisted of bulged cylinder is shown in Fig. 10. The arrows indicate the
a 30.48 cm long OFE grade copper cylinder with a 2.54 cm locations of the instabilities.
inner diameter and 6.35 mm thickness. The copper cylinder The bulged cylinder shown in Fig. 10 was cross sec-
was placed vertically on end in about 2.54 cm of sand. A tioned through the instabilities. Examination of the section

Experimental Mechanics 9 223

90 o~1' 50.8
80 . . . . . Numerical Results 9 101.6
E Exp E
E 70 152.4 ~"
" 60
9 203.2
50 =
~- 40 254.0
a 30 304.8 &
20 355.6 ~=

10 406.4 3
10 20 30 40 50

T ime (its)
Fig. 8--Radial displacement as a function of time at eight locations along the longitudinal axis of the 5.08 mm thick cylinder


............... N u m e r i c a l Results
..... G urney Velocity
Experimental Data

"" 1500



r-- -**
/ i I I

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
Time (ms)
Fig. 9--Radial velocity as a function of time for the 2.54 mm thick cylinder

tion and a shear band was obviously connecting the instabil-

ities. An exaggerated illustration of the offset instabilities
is shown in Fig. 11, and a photomicrograph of the resulting
microstructure from the bulged cylinder section is shown in
Fig. 12. In Fig. 12, excessive plastic deformation is visible
from the elongated grains, illustrating a very ductile mate-
rial response. In addition, the inner surface of the cylinder
appears to be rougher than the outer surface, indicating ad-
ditional damage. This damage occurs possibly as a result of
localized heating and shock interactions with the HE.

The experimental data presented here illustrate the defor-
Fig. 10--Bulged cylinder from C-4 experiment mation of two cylindrical shells subjected to internal explo-
sive detonations. These shells were fabricated from high-
indicated the development of instabilities on both the inner purity copper, which was carefully characterized for these
and outer surfaces. However, unlike a uniaxial tensile spec- experiments. The configuration of the explosive and the det-
imen, these instabilities were offset in the tangential direc- onation technique results in a multiaxial state of stress, which

224 9 Vol. 40, No. 2, June 2000

/ r \
Zones of
Shear R

Fig. 1lmExaggerated illustration of quasi-periodic instabilities

Outer Surface The fast flaming camera photographs and photomicro-

graph shown here illustrate excessive plastic deformation and
shear localization, thus providing insight into the develop-
ment of the multiple plastic instabilities that are associated
with rapidly expanding shells. These instabilities appear in
the photomicrograph to be localized zones of plastic strain
and are related to the thickness of the expanding cylinders.
The experiments conducted in this research provide useful
information for further experimental, analytical and numeri-
cal work with regard to shell expansion and the development
of the quasi-periodic plastic instabilities.
A cknowledgmen ts
The authors gratefully acknowledge Dynamic Experimen-
tation and Engineering Sciences and Applications divisions
for providing support for this research. This work was per-
formed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy
200 gm Inner Surface by Los Alamos National Laboratory in cooperation with Col-
orado State University.
Fig. 12--Shear band from bulged cylinder experiment
1. Gurney, R., "The Initial Velocities of Fragments from Bombs, Shells,
and Grenades," BRL Report No. 405 (1943).
2. Taylor, G.L, "Fragmentation of Tubular Bombs," Scientific Papers of
is unique to the current literature. Fast framing camera pho- G. I. Taylor, 3 (44), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 387 (1963).
tographs and Fabry-Perot interferometer data recorded during 3. Slate, P.M.B., Billings, M.J. W., and Fuller, P.ZA., "The Rupture Be-
the experiment provide useful information with regard to the havior of Metals at High Strain Rates," J. Inst. Metals, 95, 244-251 (1967).
high strain rate deformation and surface velocity of the ex- 4. Hoggatt, C. and Recht, R., "Fracture Behavior of Tubular Bombs," J.
Appl. Phys., 39, 1856 (1968).
panding shells. This information is useful for benchmarking 5. Wesenberg, D.L and Sagartz, M.J., "Dynamic Fracture of 6061-T6
numerical codes, and the limited comparison plots given in Aluminum Cylinders," J. Appl. Mech., 44, 643 (1977).
this paper illustrate good agreement between the experimen- 6. Mort, N.R., "Fragmentation of Shell Cases," Proc. Roy. Soc. London,
tal data and numerical predictions, thus lending credibility 189, 300 (1947).
to the numerical model developed in Ref. 8. In addition, Z ABAQUS Version 5.7, Hibbit, Karlsson, andSorenson Inc. (1998).
8. Martineau, R.L, "A Viscoplastic Model of Expanding Cylindrical
the fundamental work by Gurney provides a supplemental Shells Subjected to Internal Explosive Detonations," PhD dissertation, Col-
verification of the experimental data and numerical results. orado State University (1998).

ExperimentalMechanics 9 225