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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Design of Exploding Wire System

  • Author(s): Lakhani, Elesh
  • Advisor(s): Eliasson, Veronica
  • et al.

Shock focusing can lead to extreme conditions in the region, where the shock waves coalesce, called the focal region. These conditions can either be detrimental or beneficial, depending on the circumstances. The phenomenon has found applications in various industries including biomedical, nuclear and anti-terrorism. However, due to the nonlinear nature of shock waves and their interactions, predictions of shock focusing events are far from trivial. A deeper understanding of shock focusing is vital to determine how to both mitigate its harmful effects and enhance its applications. This thesis aims to provide an experimental technique to study shock-shock interaction and shock focusing from multiple synchronized shock waves. The technique utilizes a combination of a capacitor bank and a spark gap switch to pass a large amount of current through very thin conducting wires. The large current causes the wires to undergo substantial thermal changes, leading to their explosion. This results in the generation of shock waves that have decaying flow properties behind the shock front. The number and locations of the shock waves can be easily varied to study a myriad of cases. The technique, in combination with different experimental chambers, provides the flexibility to either constrain the shock waves to propagate in only a 2-dimensional space or allow them to propagate in the entire 3-dimensional space. Additionally, the technique has a very fast turnaround time and allows the user to run up to 30 experiments in a day.

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