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Ground based simulation of orbital debris using laser driven flyer plates

Ground based simulation of orbital debris using laser driven flyer plates
Ground based simulation of orbital debris using laser driven flyer plates

The proliferation of man-made debris in near earth orbits is of increasing concern to the space community. Impacts with spacecraft can causes significant damage. Ground based simulation facilities are an essential tool for assessing, understanding and providing protection against the effects of this hazard. The development of a new orbital debris simulation facility, based on the use of the laser driven flyer plate, is described. The study was motivated by the need to simulate the impact of aluminium plate-like particles in the 10-100μm diameter regime. There are currently no facilities which have this capability.

The flyer plate is generated by firing a high power pulsed Nd:YAG laser beam at a target. Results of experiments using two different types of target are presented. The first target consists of fused silica disc coated with a 5μm thick layer of aluminium (called a fully coated target), and the second target consists of a fused silica disc covered with an array of 5 μm thick circular aluminium dots (called an etched target). Glass and thin metal foil samples have been placed behind the target, at stand-off distances in the range of 120 μm - 60 mm, to study the flyer plate impact.

Flyer plates from the fully coated target have been observed to fragment before they reach the sample, for stand-off distances over 0.5 mm ; the evidence of this is provided by the distribution of holes in the thin metal foils. The area and diameter distribution of the fragments has been derived from the hole diameters in the foil using a hole-growth equation. The spread in the velocity of the fragments has been measured using a time of flight technique, whereby the arrival of the fragments at the sample is detected using the impact flash. Fragments with diameters in the range 3 - 91 μm, and velocities of 1- 6 kms-1 have been measured. The distribution of the fragment surface eras has been shown to agree well with a fragmentation theory based on Poisson statistics.

University of Southampton
Tighe, Adrian Philip
Tighe, Adrian Philip

Tighe, Adrian Philip (2000) Ground based simulation of orbital debris using laser driven flyer plates. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The proliferation of man-made debris in near earth orbits is of increasing concern to the space community. Impacts with spacecraft can causes significant damage. Ground based simulation facilities are an essential tool for assessing, understanding and providing protection against the effects of this hazard. The development of a new orbital debris simulation facility, based on the use of the laser driven flyer plate, is described. The study was motivated by the need to simulate the impact of aluminium plate-like particles in the 10-100μm diameter regime. There are currently no facilities which have this capability.

The flyer plate is generated by firing a high power pulsed Nd:YAG laser beam at a target. Results of experiments using two different types of target are presented. The first target consists of fused silica disc coated with a 5μm thick layer of aluminium (called a fully coated target), and the second target consists of a fused silica disc covered with an array of 5 μm thick circular aluminium dots (called an etched target). Glass and thin metal foil samples have been placed behind the target, at stand-off distances in the range of 120 μm - 60 mm, to study the flyer plate impact.

Flyer plates from the fully coated target have been observed to fragment before they reach the sample, for stand-off distances over 0.5 mm ; the evidence of this is provided by the distribution of holes in the thin metal foils. The area and diameter distribution of the fragments has been derived from the hole diameters in the foil using a hole-growth equation. The spread in the velocity of the fragments has been measured using a time of flight technique, whereby the arrival of the fragments at the sample is detected using the impact flash. Fragments with diameters in the range 3 - 91 μm, and velocities of 1- 6 kms-1 have been measured. The distribution of the fragment surface eras has been shown to agree well with a fragmentation theory based on Poisson statistics.

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Published date: 2000

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 466998
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/466998
PURE UUID: cffc9058-2b94-42c7-a19a-66d7053aecf3

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Date deposited: 05 Jul 2022 08:07
Last modified: 05 Jul 2022 08:07

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Author: Adrian Philip Tighe

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