Ballistic perforation of oxygen-free high conductivity copper and 7039 aluminum targets: A microstructural and hydrocode study

Christine Kennedy, University of Texas at El Paso


This research involves an effort to study and compare the residual microstructures and dynamic behavior of two metallic targets of finite thicknesses, namely OFHC (oxygen-free high-conductivity) copper and 7039 aluminum, subjected to ballistic impact and perforation by a tungsten heavy alloy (WHA) projectile. Also included in this work is an attempt to validate mathematical modelling of experimental results through the use of a computer hydrocode, AUTODYN-2D, which allows for the simulation of ballistic penetration/perforation events and possible differentiation of fundamental mechanisms through validation strategies. These targets represent two very different FCC materials. The 7039 aluminum is extremely hard in contrast to a softer, ductile copper. The “failure” mechanisms appear to be different on a macroscopic scale, but may be similar on a microscopic scale. A preliminary investigation of the residual penetration channels in these two targets revealed significant microstructural differences. In the 7039 aluminum target there is a limited extent of microstructural deformation seen through optical microscopy, though numerous shear bands are observed near the channel wall and at the spalled region. Observations of the OHFC target, on the other hand, show a narrow region of recrystallized grains adjacent to the crater wall, beyond which is an extensive area of microband clusters. Similar features have been observed previously in connection with hypervelocity impact cratering in copper. This investigation will attempt to provide clues to the fundamental issues involved in the differing dynamic behavior of the two FCC materials. A detailed analysis of microstructures and their evolution will be conducted through metallography and transmission electron microscopy. Microhardness measurements will be performed to correlate the results of ballistic computer simulations through residual stress and hardness profiles. Computational modeling will be used to simulate the impact behavior of the two target materials and will be corroborated by experimental results to establish a validation of perforation geometry and residual stress mappings which can be related to actual residual hardness maps constructed experimentally. This study is an attempt to correlate microstructural issues with computer simulations and especially validation of these simulations to improve predictive models and general ballistic and hypervelocity perforation behavior in metal targets.

Subject Area

Materials science|Metallurgy

Recommended Citation

Kennedy, Christine, "Ballistic perforation of oxygen-free high conductivity copper and 7039 aluminum targets: A microstructural and hydrocode study" (2000). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3008206.