In recent years, the phenomena occurring during shock wave propagation in spatial structures have been studied to characterize more accurately and to minimize the effects of pyrotechnical sources. As part of a program managed by the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES, the French space agency), SNPE Matériaux Energétiques (SME) and MBDA France collaborated in a study to understand the mechanisms of shock wave propagation induced by the detonation of a linear pyrotechnical source. The focus of the study was on structures representative of space launcher structures such as those used for the Ariane 5 launcher. Various experiments were performed with metallic and composite plates, and two types of measurement devices (strain gauges and accelerometers) were investigated. Additional out-of-plane velocity and displacement measurements were provided by laser vibrometers, and displays of the separation of the plates were provided by a high-speed camera (up to 4800 feet/second). Signals treatment provided bending and compression strain describing plate mechanical responses. The apparatus used and the associated concerns that arose during the firings also are discussed.

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