Two Students Noted For Explosives Research

SOCORRO, N.M. November 10, 2009 – New Mexico Tech students Shaun Geerts and Micah Wild won third place for their research poster at the national American Indian Society of Science and Engineering conference in Portland in late October.

Micah Wild and Shaun Geerts (right) won third place at the AISES conference for their paper on shaped-charge liners.

The mechanical engineering students were honored for their poster titled “A Study of the Effects of Shaped-Charge Liner Design.”

Geerts, the president of the Explosives Club on campus, said he and Wild completed the project with the intention of presenting at the International Society of Explosives Engineers in Orlando in February.

While they haven’t heard if their paper has been accepted for the ISEE conference, the Tech chapter did receive an award to help students attend.

A “shaped charge” is an explosive charge with a lined cavity that generates a jet of metal when detonated. The standard design includes a liner that collapses in a fashion that creates a high-velocity jet of ejecta. Geerts said he and Wild tested a theory that a second liner would create a more powerful jet.

“We came up with an idea to implement an inner liner,” Geerts said. “Instead of a single liner, you have an additional liner inside and the goal was to add more material to a certain part of the jet to increase its effectiveness. If you have more mass, it can penetrate further.”

The students theorized that one thicker line wouldn’t allow the same initial velocity, but a second liner may allow the jet to form, then add material as the shaped charge exits the cone.

They tested their theory nine times at the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center at New Mexico Tech. Two of their designs penetrated a target object just as far as the conventional shaped charge, but none of their designs outperformed the standard cone, Geerts said.

The national organization gave the club $1,000 to help students pay travel costs to attend the conference. The Explosives Club has about 50 members and Geerts hopes that 10 to 12 students will attend the conference in Florida.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech