DOI: 10.1063/5.0160147 ISSN:

A study of explosive-induced fracture in polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)

S. M. Torres, O. Y. Vorobiev, R. E. Robey, M. J. Hargather
  • General Physics and Astronomy

The fracture response of geologic materials is of interest for applications, including geothermal energy harnessing and containment of underground explosions. To better understand the explosively induced fracture response of geomaterials, polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) was used as a transparent rock surrogate to allow imaging of internal shock propagation and fracture growth processes. Experiments were conducted using high-speed shadowgraphy and photon Doppler velocimetry (PDV), which were compared to numerical simulations. Experiments measured fractures produced in 304.8mm×304.8mm×304.8mm PMMA cubes with two simultaneously initiated detonators. The cubes were subjected to varying amounts and directions of externally applied uniaxial stresses, including no stress, 2 MPa stress, and 20 MPa stress. The fracture radius as a function of time was extracted from the high-speed videos. Post-test images of the PMMA cubes aided in the determination of three-dimensional effects not directly imaged by the cameras. The surface velocity history and the shock response captured in PDV and the high-speed videos were compared to the simulated explosive-induced shock response. The simulation results indicate that the shock drives the fracture for the first 20 μs corresponding to a fracture radius of approximately 15 mm in the experiments. The gas-driven fracture extent was estimated analytically using an equilibrium stress distribution calculated after the shock wave propagation through the sample. Reduction in the gas pressure due to the leakage of the explosive products through the crack as a function of time was accounted for. The estimated fracture lengths were in agreement with the experimentally observed fracture lengths.

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