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RESEARCH PAPERS

Probabilistic Modeling for Ceramic Lined Gun Barrels

[+] Author and Article Information
Robert H. Carter

 U.S. Army Research Laboratory, AMSRD-ARL-WM-MB, Building 4600, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21005rcarter@arl.army.mil

J. Pressure Vessel Technol 128(2), 251-256 (Dec 30, 2005) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2172966 History: Received December 08, 2005; Revised December 30, 2005

Designers of advanced gun systems have been tasked with increasing barrel life in the face of the extreme erosion and wear of the interior ballistics environment. The addition of refractory metal coatings, such as chromium or tantalum, have greatly boosted service life, but even with these applications the erosion resistance of the underlying gun steel is the service-life limiting factor. The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is currently undertaking an effort to determine the feasibility of ceramic gun barrels. Ceramics are attractive for liner materials because of their high-temperature performance and erosion-resistance characteristics. Unfortunately, their drawbacks are low tensile strength, low fracture toughness, and brittle fracture. Previous research into the replacement of metals with a ceramic liner has met with limited success, at best, but advances in ceramic manufacturing technology, probabilistic design, and sheathing technology have led to renewed interest in this area. The work at ARL has focused on developing a material property database of commercially available ceramics, extensive finite element and analytic modeling, experimental verification, and, ultimately, demonstration of the ceramic gun barrel technology. This body of work will focus on the derivation of analytic models for an N-layered tube to calculate the Weibull failure probabilities for a ceramic liner. Model results are verified through high-pressure burst testing of blank and sheathed ceramic tubes. The application of the models as a design tool is explored by generating failure surface plots to investigate optimal geometries and prestress levels for a variety of different liner and sheath materials across various caliber systems.

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Copyright © 2006 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

High and low predictions for the burst pressure for unsheathed SN47 silicon nitride tube

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Figure 2

High and low predictions for the burst pressure for a filament wound composite sheathed silicon nitride tube (SN47)

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Figure 3

Overwrapped ceramic tube for ballistic testing

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Figure 4

High and low predictions for a composite/silicon nitride tube (SN5P) in a ballistic test fixture (the solid line for the sample prediction indicates the sample did not fail at 262MPa)

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Figure 5

Probability of failure curves for a sheathed tube

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Figure 6

Failure surface for an interference fit for a steel sheathed, silicon nitride 5.56mm barrel

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Figure 7

Failure surface for a high tension filament wound composite and silicon nitride 5.56mm barrel

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Figure 8

Failure surface for an interference-fit steel sheath on a silicon nitride gun tube for a 120mm cannon

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Figure 9

Failure surface for filament wound composite sheathed silicon nitride tube for a 120mm cannon

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Figure 10

Stress profile for a ceramic tube with a four layer steel press-fit

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Figure 11

Failure surface for a multi-layered interference fit steel sheath on a silicon nitride gun tube for a 120mm cannon

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