Spectral Analysis of Wave Propagation Through a Polymeric Hopkinson Bar
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The importance of understanding non-metallic material behaviour at high strain rates is becoming ever more important as new materials are being developed and used in shock loading applications. Applying conventional methods for high strain rate testing to non-metallic materials proved ineffective due to impedance mismatch between the specimen and apparatus and so a new test method was developed. A polymeric Hopkinson bar was developed enabling non-metallic materials, such as polycarbonate and rubber, to be tested at strain rates from 500 s^-1 to 4000 s^-1. Conventional Hopkinson bar analysis is invalid due to the viscoelastic nature of the polymeric bar material. As waves propagate along the bar length, the inherent material behaviour causes the waves to undergo a degree of attenuation and dispersion. Through the use of spectral analysis, a comparison of the dispersive relationships for 6061 T-6 aluminium, extruded acrylic and low density polyethylene is presented. The application of spectral methods to viscoelastic wave analysis was validated by three separate methods. A comparison of predicted and measured waves along the bar length allowed the dispersive relationship to be substantiated. The use of an enhanced laser velocity system further verified the predicted wave magnitude. A comparison of results for polycarbonate and ballistic gelatin to published results showed good agreement.