A New Understanding of Chemical Agent Release
LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LAB CA
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The evolution of thickened chemical agent released at supersonic velocities, due to a missile defense intercept or a properly functioning warhead, has been misunderstood. Current and historical experimental and modeling efforts have attributed agent breakup to a variety of droplet breakup mechanisms. According to this model, drops of agent fragment into subsequent generations of smaller drops until a stable drop size is reached. Recent experimental data conducted in a supersonic wind tunnel show that agent breakup is not driven by any droplet breakup mechanism. The breakup of agent is instead governed by viscoelastic behavior and aerodynamic history effects. This viscoelastic breakup mechanism results in the formation of threads and sheets of liquid, instead of drops. The evolution and final state of agent released has broad implications not only for aerobreakup models, but also for all atmospheric dispersion models.
- Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare