We experimentally studied the propagation of coupled fluid stress waves and tube flexural waves generated through projectile impact along the axis of a water-filled tube. We tested mild steel tubes, 38–40 mm inner diameter and wall thickness of 0.8, 6.4, and 12.7 mm. A steel impactor was accelerated using an air cannon and struck a polycarbonate buffer placed on the top water surface within the tube. Elastic flexural waves were observed for impact speeds of 5–10 m/s and plastic waves appeared for impact speeds approaching 20 m/s for a 0.8 mm thickness tube. We observed primary wave speeds of 1100 m/s in a 0.8 mm thickness tube, increasing to the water sound speed with 6.4 and 12.7 mm thickness tubes. Comparison of our measurements in the 0.8 mm thickness tube with Skalak’s water hammer theory indicates reasonable agreement between predicted and measured peak strains as a function of the impact buffer speed. For thick-wall tubes, the correlation between experimentally determined peak pressures and strains reveals the importance of corrections for the through-wall stress distribution.

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