Sandia National Labs NM Partnerships Collaboration Report 2021-2022

Proof of concept provides foundation for future testing of reentry devices Sandia currently cannot fully test reentry vehicles in a complex and combined representative environment. The LDRD project, led by PI Timothy Miller, tightly integrated experiments with high-fidelity simulations to provide proof-of-concept for a new test capability. The high-risk, high-reward idea introduced a tailored explosive shock loading to Sandia’s Superfuge facility to enhance its combined inertial and vibration environments with a hostile blast. New Mexico Tech, an academic partner, conducted blast-induced shock-loading experiments with the assistance of graduate student, James Reeves, under the supervision of his professor, Michael Hargather. These experiments enabled a modest modeling/simulation/ testing plus validation and verification effort. The successful combined environment test capability that could result from this proof-of concept will drastically increase the agility of design, development, and qualification activities, and strengthen the nation’s overall engineering capabilities.


Graduate student James Reeves from NM Tech worked on shock loading experiments to support the Sandia project on the future testing of reentry devices under the supervision of NM Tech Professor Dr. Michael Hargather.

(Top) Schlieren images showing a 1-gram-pentaerythritol tetranitrate blast on a 6-inch plate (left) and on a 6-inch hemisphere (right). (Bottom) Zapotec simulation and Schlieren video side-by-side 180 microseconds after detonation.

Sandia successfully demonstrated a more environmentally friendly method to test a rocket part to ensure its avionics can withstand the shock from stage separation during flight. The method—called the Alternative Pyroshock Test—used a nitrogen-powered gas gun to shoot a 100-pound steel projectile into a steel resonant beam, which then transfers energy through a resonant cone attached to the part being tested. The resulting energy transfer mimics the conditions of stage separation in space.


2021-2022 Collaboration Report

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