Open Access
Acharya, Ragini
Graduate Program:
Mechanical Engineering
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
December 11, 2008
Committee Members:
  • Kenneth K Kuo, Dissertation Advisor
  • Kenneth K Kuo, Committee Chair
  • Andre Louis Boehman, Committee Member
  • Daniel Connell Haworth, Committee Member
  • John Harlan Mahaffy, Committee Member
  • Richard A Yetter, Committee Member
  • Granular bed combustion
  • Two-phase flows
  • Riemann solvers
  • Modeling
  • Numerical simulation
  • Interior ballistics
  • Compressible flows
Numerical Simulation of interior ballistic processes in gun and mortar systems is a very difficult and interesting problem. The mathematical model for the physical processes in the mortar systems consists of a system of non-linear coupled partial differential equations, which also contain non-homogeneity in form of the source terms. This work includes the development of a three-dimensional mortar interior ballistic (3D-MIB) code for a 120mm mortar system and its stage-wise validation with multiple sets of experimental data. The 120mm mortar system consists of a flash tube contained within an ignition cartridge, tail-boom, fin region, charge increments containing granular propellants, and a projectile payload. The ignition cartridge discharges hot gas-phase products and unburned granular propellants into the mortar tube through vent-holes on its surface. In view of the complexity of interior ballistic processes in the mortar propulsion system, the overall problem was solved in a modular fashion, i.e., simulating each physical component of the mortar propulsion system separately. These modules were coupled together with appropriate initial and boundary conditions. The ignition cartridge and mortar tube contain nitrocellulose-based ball propellants. Therefore, the gas dynamical processes in the 120mm mortar system are two-phase, which were simulated by considering both phases as an interpenetrating continuum. Mass and energy fluxes from the flash tube into the granular bed of ignition cartridge were determined from a semi-empirical technique. For the tail-boom section, a transient one-dimensional two-phase compressible flow solver based on method of characteristics was developed. The mathematical model for the interior ballistic processes in the mortar tube posed an initial value problem with discontinuous initial conditions with the characteristics of the Riemann problem due to the discontinuity of the initial conditions. Therefore, the mortar tube model was solved by using a high-resolution Godunov-type shock-capturing approach was used where the discretization is done directly on the integral formulation of the conservation laws. A linearized approximate Riemann Solver was modified in this work for the two-phase flows to compute fully non-linear wave interactions and to directly provide upwinding properties in the scheme. An entropy fix based on Harten-Heyman method was used with van Leer flux limiter for total variation diminishing. The three dimensional effects were simulated by incorporating an unsplit multi-dimensional wave propagation method, which accounted for discontinuities traveling in both normal and oblique coordinate directions. For each component, the predicted pressure-time traces showed significant pressure wave phenomena, which closely simulated the measured pressure-time traces obtained at PSU. The pressure-time traces at the breech-end of the mortar tube were obtained at Aberdeen Test Center with 0, 2, and 4 charge increments. The 3D-MIB code was also used to simulate the effect of flash tube vent-hole pattern on the pressure-wave phenomenon in the ignition cartridge. A comparison of the pressure difference between primer-end and projectile-end locations of the original and modified ignition cartridges with each other showed that the early-phase pressure-wave phenomenon can be significantly reduced with the modified pattern. The flow property distributions predicted by the 3D-MIB for 0, 2, and 4 charge increment cases as well the projectile dynamics predictions provided adequate validation of theory by experiments.