Home collateral Embry-Riddle strives to reduce collateral damage in Air Force study of shrapnel

Embry-Riddle strives to reduce collateral damage in Air Force study of shrapnel


by: Mike Cavalière

Director of News and Media Relations, Embry-Riddle

A professor and graduate student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University are working to develop better methods to predict where fragments from a warhead attack will fly, reducing the chance of collateral damage.

Currently, predictions of how warhead fragmentation will occur are determined using static testing in which test warheads are fired in the desert without any flight. Although some numerical simulations have also been used as predictors of warhead fragmentation, they often do not take into account factors such as gravity and aerodynamic forces.

With a grant of $ 442,508 from the Office of Scientific Research of the Air Force, aerospace engineering professor Riccardo Bevilacqua and graduate student Katharine Larsen will merge static test data with advanced simulation capabilities, taking into account considering factors such as the speed and orientation of a warhead and using artificial neural networks and other machine learning tools to provide better estimates.

“Being able to predict the behavior of these systems is a way to save money and be more accurate,” Bevilacqua said. “Having a better model of where the fragments will go will add security to the innocent.” “

Bevilacqua said the technology under development could also potentially be applied in the event of collisions or explosions in space that project fragments of space debris. Being able to predict where this debris will go could protect active satellites from damage.

Tasos Lyrintzis, distinguished professor and chair of the aerospace engineering department, said the grant represents the Air Force’s largest single researcher award received by the department.

“It shows how much the Air Force values ​​research,” Lyrintzis said.

Larsen, who is earning a master’s degree in aerospace engineering, will help create models from data provided by the US Air Force and simulations provided by the US Naval Air Warfare Center. Having recently decided to pursue a doctorate, Larsen would like to work for the Department of Defense and one day would like to be involved in the design and manufacture of satellites, and their control systems, for scientific research.


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