Shock-induced ignition of thermally sensitive explosives

Gary Sharpe, M Short

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


The process of planar detonation ignition, induced by a constant-velocity piston or equivalently by a shock reflected from a stationary wall, is investigated using high-resolution one-dimensional numerical simulations. The standard one-step model with Arrhenius kinetics, which models thermally sensitive explosives, is employed. Emphasis is on comparing and contrasting the results of the finite activation temperature simulations with high activation temperature asymptotic predictions and previous simulations. During the induction phase, it is shown that the asymptotic results give qualitatively good predictions. However, for parameters representative of gaseous explosives, subsequent to thermal runaway at the piston and the formation of a reaction wave, the high activation temperature asymptotic theory is qualitatively incorrect for moderately high activation temperatures. It is shown that the results are very sensitive to the value of the activation temperature, especially the distance from the piston at which a secondary shock forms and the degree of unsteadiness in the reaction wave which moves away from the piston. The dependence of the ignition evolution on the other parameters (initial shock Mach number, heat of reaction and polytropic index) is also investigated. It is shown that qualitative predictions regarding the dependence of the ignition evolution on each of the parameters can be elucidated from finite activation temperature homogeneous explosion calculations together with the high activation temperature asymptotic shock ignition results. It is found that for sufficiently strong initiating shocks the ignition evolution is qualitatively different from cases studied previously in that no secondary shock forms. For a high polytropic index, corresponding to a simple equation of state model for condensed phase explosives, the results are in much better qualitative agreement with the asymptotic theory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-520
Number of pages28
JournalIMA Journal of Applied Mathematics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2004


  • detonation
  • chemical reactions
  • numerical simulation


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