Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Glen P. Perram, PhD.


Two hundred and one firings of three 152 mm howitzer munitions were observed to characterize firing signatures of a large caliber gun. Muzzle blast expansion was observed with high-speed (1600 Hz) optical imagery. The trajectory of the blast front was well approximated by a modified point-blast model described by constant rate of energy deposition. Visible and near-infrared (450 - 850 nm) spectra of secondary combustion were acquired at 0.75 nm spectral resolution and depict strong contaminant emissions including Li, Na, K, Cu, and Ca. The O2 (X-b) absorption band is evident in the blue wing of the potassium D lines and was used for monocular passive ranging accurate to within 4 - 9%. Time-resolved midwave infrared (1800 - 6000 cm-1) spectra were collected at 100 Hz and 32 cm-1 resolution. A low dimensional radiative transfer model was used to characterize plume emissions in terms of area, temperature, soot emissivity, and species concentrations. Combustion emissions have 100 ms duration, 1200 - 1600 K temperature, and are dominated by H2O and CO2. Noncombusting plume emissions last 20 ms, are 850 - 1050 K, and show significant continuum (emissivity 0.36) and CO structure. Munitions were discriminated with 92 - 96% classification accuracy using only 1 - 3 firing signature features.

AFIT Designator


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