ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 17, 2006 – An Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate science and engineering team has made a significant breakthrough in its hypersonic computational research, which could lead to new warhead technologies.
Funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research here, the team is studying the aerodynamic characteristics of projectiles that deform at hypersonic speeds at sea level conditions, which is a high-speed flight regime not commonly studied.
Dr. Kirk Vanden, technical advisor for the computational mechanics branch, Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate, is the lead principal investigator on the project.
One of the goals of the research is to advance warhead technology and the team is getting closer to this goal.
Recently, the team determined the level of chemistry modeling needed to model hypersonic flows at sea level conditions.
Because hypersonic vehicles normally fly at very high altitudes the research team had to answer some fundamentally new questions about hypersonic flight at sea-level conditions before proceeding with their broader research goals.
Vanden’s team was awarded the grant to study hypersonic and unsteady flow science issues for explosively-formed penetrator warheads. Hypersonic speed is equal to or greater than five times the speed of sound.
Vanden’s work mostly concentrates on studying flows at speeds of around Mach 6, using highly advanced computational fluid dynamics codes.