Modeling shock wave propagation in discrete Ni/Al powder mixtures

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Austin, Ryan A.
McDowell, David L.
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The focus of this work is on the modeling and simulation of shock wave propagation in reactive metal powder mixtures. Reactive metal systems are non-explosive, solid-state materials that release chemical energy when subjected to sufficiently strong stimuli. Shock loading experiments have demonstrated that ultra-fast chemical reactions can be achieved in certain micron-sized metal powder mixtures. However, the mechanisms of rapid mixing that drive these chemical reactions are currently unclear. The goal of this research is to gain an understanding of the shock-induced deformation that enables these ultra-fast reactions. The problem is approached using direct numerical simulation. In this work, a finite element (FE) model is developed to simulate shock wave propagation in discrete particle mixtures. This provides explicit particle-level resolution of the thermal and mechanical fields that develop in the shock wave. The Ni/Al powder system has been selected for study. To facilitate mesoscale FE simulation, a new dislocation-based constitutive model has been developed to address the viscoplastic deformation of fcc metals at very high strain rates. Six distinct initial configurations of the Ni/Al powder system have been simulated to quantify the effects of powder configuration (e.g., particle size, phase morphology, and constituent volume fractions) on deformation in the shock wave. Results relevant to the degree of shock-induced mixing in the Ni/Al powders are presented, including specific analysis of the thermodynamic state and microstructure of the Ni/Al interfaces that develop during wave propagation. Finally, it is shown that velocity fluctuations at the Ni/Al interfaces (which arise due to material heterogeneity) may serve to fragment the particles down to the nanoscale, and thus provide an explanation of ultra-fast chemical reactions in these material systems.
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