Effect of Yield Curves and Porous Crush on Hydrocode Simulations of Asteroid AirburstOPEN ACCESS 

D.K. Robertson, D.L. Mathias

Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Accepted manuscript online: 6 February 2017
First published: 23 March 2017
DOI: 10.1002/2016JE005194

Last update: 23 March 2017

“Simulations of asteroid airburst are being conducted to obtain best estimates of damage areas and assess sensitivity to variables for asteroid characterization and mitigation efforts. The simulations presented here employed the ALE3D hydrocode to examine the break-up and energy deposition of asteroids entering Earth’s atmosphere, using the Chelyabinsk meteor as a test case. This paper examines the effect of increasingly complex material models on the energy deposition profile. Modeling the meteor as a rock having a single strength can reproduce airburst altitude and energy deposition reasonably well, but is not representative of real rock masses (large bodies of material). Accounting for a yield curve that includes different tensile, shear, and compressive strengths shows that shear strength determines the burst altitude. Including yield curves and compaction of porous spaces in the material changes the detailed mechanics of the break-up but only has a limited effect on the burst altitude and energy deposition. Strong asteroids fail and create peak energy deposition close to the altitude at which ram dynamic pressure equals the material strength. Weak asteroids, even though they structurally fail at high altitude, require the increased pressure at lower altitude to disrupt and disperse the rubble. As a result, a wide range of weaker asteroid strengths produce peak energy deposition at a similar altitude.”