Terminal ballistics

See also : Terminal ballistics facilities on the ISL proving ground

Compressed gas guns

Arbitrary shaped projectiles are accelerated to velocities up to 500 m/s to investigate impact phenomena at medium velocities for basic research and testing of industrial machine components and parts.

The projectile target interaction and material deformation and failure can be investigated at ambient and elevated temperature conditions.

Technical features

Calibers - 40 mm and velocities up to 500 m/s

  • high-speed imaging and videography up to 106 fps or exposure times of 50 ns
  • elevated temperatures up to 600 °C
  • full-field high-speed deformation measurement with Digital Image Correlation
compressed gas guns

Powder guns

Standard ammunitions or arbitrary shaped projectiles can be accelerated to velocities >2000 m/s. The impact velocity is adjusted and measured with high accuracy.

The measurement instrumentation with high speed cameras, flash x-rays allows to visualize in detail the projectile target interaction for a wide range of projectile and target sizes.

The target response to high speed impact can be analyzed with high-speed full field deformation measurements with Digital Image Correlation.

Technical features

Calibers from 9 mm handgun ammunition and 5,56 mm infantry ammunition with rifled barrels up to 60 mm medium caliber size smooth barrels

  • impact velocities up to >2000 m/s
  • high speed imaging, videography or flash x-ray imaging up to 106 fps or exposure times of 20 ns
  • full-field high speed deformation measurement with Digital Image Correlation

Two-stage light-gas guns

Two stage light gas guns arbitrary are used to accelerate arbitrarily shaped projectiles to velocities up to >7000 m/s for the investigation of hypervelocity impact phenomena.

Basic research in the field of hypervelocity impact -also testing of protective solutions in the field of space debris impact can be conducted.

Technical features

Guns with 10 mm, 20 mm and 30 mm caliber barrels for impact velocities up to >7000 m/s

  • multi exposure flash x-ray imaging with 20 ns exposure times
  • evacuated free-flight chamber to simulate different atmospherical conditions
  • shadowgraphs and schlieren-imaging for aerodynamic investigations up to Mach 20
Two-stage light-gas guns

External ballistics

The SIBREF (Soft In-Bore REcovery Facility) is a unique facility that enables to test electronic, mechanical and/or optical components subject to harsh acceleration conditions of a gun launch.

Electronic componants are shot launched then progressively decelerated to be recovered for analysis.

Technical features

For a total mass of 2 to 3 kg, the maximal acceleration can be fitted in the range between 3000 g to 25000 g.

The installation consists of three main parts:

  • a smooth bore powder gun 90L60 (90 mm calibre and 60 calibre long = 5.4 m)
  • an intermediate venting section of 4 m length including a sliding part for the backward movement of the gun
  • a deceleration modular section of 27 m (300 cal.) length containing an inert gas like nitrogen under a given initial pressure

Internal ballistics

See also : Internal ballistics facilities on our proving ground

Closed vessels

Closed vessels are essential experimental devices for investigating the ignition and burning behaviour of solid propellants.

Applications in the field of interior ballistics cover a broad scope:

  • determination of the ignition and burning characteristics of solid propellants (ignition energy, burning rate)
  • characterization of igniter materials
  • investigation of the erosion
  • optical observation of the ignition, burning interruption at pressures up to 1 GPa in order to understand abnormal burning behaviour at high loading densities
  • realise burning investigations at loading densities equivalent to those of large-calibre guns

Technical features of the different ISL closed vessels:

  1. Conventional ignition:
    • 50 cm3 erosion closed vessel
      max. pressure: 600 MPa
    • 400 cm3 erosion closed vessel
      max. pressure: 1 GPa
    • mini-closed vessel 2.15 cm3
      max. pressure: 100 MPa
    • two-stage closed vessel
      max. pressure: 80 MPa
    • sapphire
      max. pressure: 60 MPa
  2. Plasma ignition:
    • 50 cm3 erosion closed vessel
      max. pressure: 500 MPa
    • 460 cm3 erosion closed vessel
      max. pressure: 500 MPa
closed vessels

60-mm ignition simulator

The study of the interaction between ignition products and propellant are carried out in this ignition simulator, representing the combustion chamber of the ISL 60 mm gun.

This experimental device was designed to determine experimentally the heat transfer from an igniter device to the propellant bed. It allows characterizing the distance of action of an igniter and the spatial distribution of the energy deposited.

Technical features

  • Same chamber profile as the ISL 60 mm gun
  • Conventional or plasma ignitions
  • Max. pressure: 50 MPa
  • Pressure and temperature measurements
60 mm ignition simulator
Certified institute       A joint initiative Member of "Institut Carnot MICA" Joint laboratory


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