The syringe in a subcutaneous autoinjector may be subjected to internal pressure transients due to the normal operation of the injection mechanism. These transients are similar to transients in fluid-filled pipelines observed during water hammer events. In this paper, the effect of an air gap in the syringe and a converging section are studied experimentally and numerically in a model system which consists of a fluid-filled metal tube that is impulsively loaded with a projectile to simulate the action of the autoinjector mechanism operation.

The air between the buffer and the water results in a complex interaction between the projectile and the buffer. Also, there are tension waves inside the tube due to the presence of a free surface, and this causes distributed cavitation which, in turn, gives rise to steepening of the pressure waves. The converging section can amplify the pressure waves if the wave front is sharp. Pressures as high as 50 MPa have been measured at the apex of the cone with impact velocities of 5.5 m/s.

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