Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Anthony N. Palazotto, PhD


In this work, a summary of past and present research efforts, as well as the theoretical foundation, of hypervelocity gouging is presented. As the Holloman AFB High Speed Test Track (HHSTT) sled's speed has increased to Mach 8.5, material interactions develops which causes "gouging" - this can result in catastrophic failure. A characterization of gouging, including a thermodynamic history, is developed from an examination of a gouged rail. An extensive study is performed that determines the specific material flow models for VascoMax 300 and 1080 steel. The models are validated utilizing several experimental tests which are successfully simulated using CTH - a state-of-the-art shock wave physics hydrocode. Additionally, a penetration theory is developed which provides insight into the gouging problem using an analytic approach that does not require the use of computationally intensive codes. Based on the detailed examination of the materials and the validation of the material models within CTH, an evaluation of the HHSTT gouging phenomenon is performed. These simulations of the gouging problem replicate the experimentally observed characteristics and lead to recommendations to mitigate the occurrence of hypervelocity gouging.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number