New Publication: Analysis of hypervelocity impacts: the tungsten case

The Nuclear Futures Institute are pleased to highlight the publication of a new research paper written by Dr Alberto Fraile. The paper is titled “Analysis of hypervelocity impacts: the tungsten case“. See the full text here.

The impact simulations were performed using classical MDs (molecular dynamics) as implemented in LAMMPS. See more LAMMPS-based studies here.

Published in the IAEA Nuclear Fusion journal, the paper investigates the atomistic mechanisms of damage initiation during high velocity tungsten projectiles on a tungsten surface. The paper details various stages of the impact including but not limited to plastic deformation, breakup, melting, and vaporization. See more details about our materials research group here.

Tungsten impact

W sphere (N = 17,261 atoms) impacting a W single-crystal target with v = 3 km s−1. The snapshot is taken 10 ps after impact. Color code: local temperature. Blue atoms are at room temperature and red ones at melting point or above.

Alberto’s paper primiarily provides key insights into nuclear fusion materials but could also apply to aerospace materials. See more space related articles here.

Impacts within the speed range studied within the paper are common in space exploration, where micro-meteoroids travel with speeds reaching up to 40 km s−1, posing a threat to satellites, spacecrafts, and space stations. High-velocity impacts are a research topic of great importance in military applications (development of better projectiles and armor).

To summarize, the processes underlying crater formation by the impact of energetic W nanoparticles was  investigated in depth using advanced MD simulations. The results of the paper provide further insights into this complex problem, which, in the case of W on W impacts, is an important one in nuclear fusion technology development.

The paper also includes two visualisation videos which can be found below.