AIAA 98-3626, Proceedings of 34th Joint Propulsion Conference, Cleveland, OH, July 1998.

Lessons Learned from Safe and Arm Detonation Transfer Test Program


John Sudick
Special Devices, Inc.
Newhall, CA 91321

Special Thanks to DJ

Barry T. Neyer, Member AIAA
EG&G Optoelectronics, Inc.
Miamisburg, OH 45343-0529

Current Address
Barry T. Neyer
Excelitas Technologies
1100 Vanguard Blvd
Miamisburg, OH 45342
(937) 865-5586
(937) 865-5170 (Fax)


This paper summarizes the lessons learned from explosive interface testing between a detonator and an FCDC end tip. The most important lesson is that the test setup must be IDENTICAL to the device under test in all physically important parameters or the results of the test may be meaningless. For example, the test setup can inhibit detonation transfer at large standoffs by creating a geometry that does not exist in the real explosive interface. Secondly, radiographs of fired hardware can be a good indicator of "prompt" detonation. Many test fixtures can be designed with some type of "witness" material near the FCDC end tip. High order detonation causes deformation of this material indicating the point at which high order detonation was reached. Prompt detonation is indicated by evidence that high order detonation was realized from the initiation point. This evidence can provide additional evaluation criteria besides the traditional pass or fail criteria used today. Finally, statistical programs may incorporate assumptions regarding data distribution and selection of test standoffs; assumptions that can yield artificial indications of failures at small gaps in the actual design gap range. Proper attention to the statistical methods used to test designs, and to the analysis methods used to analyze the data from these tests is critically important.

Technical Papers of Dr. Barry T. Neyer

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