Three-Dimensional Microwave Imaging of Detonation Fronts

Rayford Mays | 19-FS-055


Microwave signals provide high penetration and favorable resolution in high explosive (HE) materials. As a result, microwave interferometry has been studied for the characterization of propagating detonation fronts during explosive events. Despite promising results for one-dimensional (1D) configurations, microwave interrogation has yet to be fully exploited to capture two-dimensional (2D) or three-dimensional (3D) front properties during detonation—information that would provide insights into detonation front curvature, overdriven detonation phenomena, deflagration-to-detonation transition, and corner-turning behavior in HE.

Our research expanded on earlier 1D experimental work by investigating the feasibility of detonation front imaging using a non-iterative time reversal algorithm. The results of this computational study indicated that microwave time reversal imaging can successfully resolve the shape and location of detonation fronts within the interior of HE materials. These results enable the development of a new microwave-based diagnostic that will help answer important questions related to HE properties.

Impact on Mission

This study advances Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's work to meet key R&D challenges in the areas of HE physics, chemistry, and materials science. The research also strengthens NNSA's science, technology, and engineering base in support of NNSA developments to meet evolving security needs and challenges.