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Micro-Particle Debris Characterization from Hyper-Velocity Impacts


OBJECTIVE: Develop innovative, laboratory-based methods to measure and characterize (i.e. size, number, temperature etc.) the small particles less than 1 cm generated in hyper-velocity impacts. Those methods should provide benchmark data for physics-based impact debris prediction codes aimed at modeling electro-optical / infra-red (EO/IR) impact flash signatures. The methods may include sensor development, instrumentation and data collection, data analysis and characterization, and/or test and experimental design. A proposal should identify a specific technical challenge or challenges, and propose a solution. DESCRIPTION: Characterizing the EO/IR scene has presented a challenge due to its dynamic intensity range, environmental dependencies and wide range of phenomenology. Small particles can dominate the EO/IR impact signature (on the order of one second or less). Ground impact studies have rarely focused on these small particulates due to the low percentage of target/interceptor mass comprising the particulate cloud and the difficulty/cost of introducing measurement equipment into this environment. Thus, innovative new experimental methods are needed to elucidate the small particulate generation mechanisms and physical characteristics to provide insight and truth data for developing physics-based EO/IR signature models. MDA desires an innovative, cost-effective, combined sensor/software technology whereby sensors can characterize micro-particles with sufficient resolution to support EO/IR signature modeling, and determine numbers, mass, temperature, emissivity and velocity of the particles. The interrogation method must also be capable of estimating/correlating particle masses to their velocities, or a mass distribution to a velocity field. The proposed interrogation system must be suitable for open-air outdoor arena, sled testing, gas gun testing and/or flight test, and sufficiently robust to handle blast overpressures ranging from 1000 psi near the center of the hemispherical test space to 1 psi near the fringes. The proposed interrogation system must be capable of producing a post-test report containing micro-particle characterization data within hours of the test. Contractors are encouraged to take maximum advantage of commercial off the shelf (COTS) sub-technologies and provide confidence in the proposed approach to meet these requirements. PHASE I: Propose an innovative solution to the measurement and characterization of the small particle environment. Consider commercially available sensor and instrumentation hardware as well as new measurement devices. Also consider available data characterization and analysis tools as well as new techniques and algorithms. Through modeling, simulation and analysis demonstrate the utility of the proposed approach to measure and characterize the small particles generated in hyper-velocity impacts, as compared to alternatives. Provide a plan for demonstration of the preferred approach. PHASE II: Realize a design of a measurement and characterization system that can be included in a ground (arena test, sled test, light gas gun test, etc) test or flight test. Demonstrate performance via component and system-level testing that shows the ability of that system to make measurements of micro-particle debris resulting from a hyper-velocity impact test. Prove performance of the system via ground test or flight test. PHASE III: Transition the measurement and characterization system from a developmental unit to a test asset and use it to provide test data for hyper-velocity impact studies for ground tests and/or high altitude tests. Integration with existing ground test and flight test assets should be pursued. DUAL USE/COMMERCIALIZATION POTENTIAL: Measurement of micro-particles or other particulates could be useful in pollution control, measurement of extreme weather conditions including hail, dust-storms, or volcano ash. In addition, other military and space based applications concerning evaluation/assessment of shielding and impact could be applicable.
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