Simulation of Aerothermal and Chemical Concentrations for an RDX Explosion

Alison M. Ceranski


The aerothermal and chemical concentrations of an RDX explosive were simulated using VULCAN, a NASA owned and operated program. The Chapman-Jouguet properties from an RDX explosion were obtained using pure RDX at theoretical maximum density in Cheetah. The values obtained from Cheetah were used to determine the inner radius of the grid used in VULCAN as well as the required time to run the explosives products into the grid. Four different axisymmetric simulations were run in VULCAN. The simulation of 500 kg, 1000 kg, and 2000 kg of RDX using the Runge-Kutta solving scheme were three of those four simulations. The last simulation was of a 500 kg RDX using Diagonalized Approximation Factorization solving scheme. The aerothermal and chemical results showed several errors. One error was a massive spike in Mach numbers found in all four simulations. The second error was the addition of CO and H2O in both the 1000 kg and 2000 kg simulations. However, these errors occurred due to the numerical results not being able to keep up with the physical results in the simulation. In the future, small time steps will be required to keep these errors from occurring. The research successfully developed a framework for simulating the aerothermal and chemical concentrations for an explosion.