Nondestructive imaging of hypervelocity impact‐induced damage zones beneath laboratory‐created craters by means of ultrasound travel‐time tomography

1Manuel Raith,2Matthias Ebert,1Katja Pinkert,1Christian U. Grosse
Meteoritics & Planetary Science (in Press) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1111/maps.13113]
1Chair of Non‐destructive Testing, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany
2Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Geology, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

Since the 1960s, hypervelocity impact experiments have been conducted to study the complex deformation mechanisms which occur in the subsurface of meteorite craters. Here, we present ultrasound tomography measurements of the damage zone underneath seven experimentally produced impact craters in sandstone cubes. Within the framework of the Multidisciplinary Experimental and Modeling Impact Research Network and the NEOShield Project, decimeter‐sized sandstone targets were impacted by aluminum and steel projectiles with radii of 2.5, 4, and 5 mm at velocities between ~3.0 and ~7.4 km s−1. The 2‐D ultrasound tomography clearly shows a correlation between impact energy and the damaged volume within the target blocks. When increasing impact energies from 805 to 2402 J, a corresponding increase in the damage radius from ~13.1 cm to ~17.6 cm was calculated. p‐Wave velocity reductions up to 18.3% (for the highest impact energy) were observed in the vicinity of the craters. The reduction in seismic velocity decreased uniformly and linearly with increasing distance from the impact point. The damage intensities correspond to peak damage parameters of 0.4–0.51 compared to undamaged target blocks. In addition to the damage zone below the crater, we could identify weakened zones at the sandstone walls which represent precursors of spalling. The volume of the damaged subsurface beneath experimentally produced craters determined through ultrasound tomography is larger than that obtained from previously reported p‐wave velocity reductions or to microscopic and microcomputed tomography observations of crack densities in experimentally produced craters.

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