On the high fidelity simulation of chemical explosions and their interaction with solid particle clouds
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High explosive charges when detonated ensue in a flow field characterized by several physical phenomena that include blast wave propagation, hydrodynamic instabilities, real gas effects, fluid mixing and afterburn effects. Solid metal particles are often added to explosives to augment the total impulsive loading, either through direct bombardment if inert, or through afterburn energy release if reactive. These multiphase explosive charges, termed as heterogeneous explosives, are of interest from a scientific perspective as they involve the confluence and interplay of various additional physical phenomena such as shock-particle interaction, particle dispersion, ignition, and inter-phase mass, momentum and energy transfer. In the current research effort, chemical explosions in multiphase environments are investigated using a robust, state-of-the-art Eulerian-gas, Lagrangian-solid methodology that can handle both the dense and dilute particle regimes. Explosions into ambient air as well as into aluminum particle clouds are investigated, and hydrodynamic instabilities such as Rayleigh- Taylor and Richtmyer-Meshkov result in a mixing layer where the detonation products mix with the air and afterburn. The particles in the ambient cloud, when present, are observed to pick up significant amounts of momentum and heat from the gas, and thereafter disperse, ignite and burn. The amount of mixing and afterburn are observed to be independent of particle size, but dependent on the particle mass loading and cloud dimensions. Due to fast response times, small particles are observed to cluster as they interact with the vortex rings in the mixing layer, which leads to their preferential ignition/ combustion. The total deliverable impulsive loading from heterogeneous explosive charges containing inert steel particles is estimated for a suite of operating parameters and compared, and it is demonstrated that heterogeneous explosive charges deliver a higher near-field impulse than homogeneous explosive charges containing the same mass of the high explosive. Furthermore, particles are observed to introduce significant amounts of hydrodynamic instabilities in the mixing layer, resulting in augmented fluctuation intensities and fireball size, and different growth rates for heterogeneous explosions compared to homogeneous explosions. For aluminized explosions, the particles are observed to burn in two regimes, and the average particle velocities at late times are observed to be independent of the initial solid volume fraction in the explosive charge. Overall, this thesis provides useful insights on the role played by solid particles in chemical explosions.