The increased frequency of exploration into space has caused a dramatic rise in the density of debris in orbit. Orbital debris, both natural and man-made, poses an extreme impact risk to satellites and spacecraft. The relative velocities between orbital components and debris can exceed thousands of meters per second, giving rise to immense kinetic energies even for small objects. In such a hypervelocity impact event, the shock pressures exceed the strength of common aerospace materials, and brief shock-induced temperature rises cause melting and vaporization of most structural bodies. Under these extreme conditions, the failure and deformation of solids can resemble fluid flow. By using meshless Lagrangian models in an explicit computational framework, this work identifies analogous fluidic interactions and further quantifies the role of shear and inertial forces in hypervelocity impacts (HVI).

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