This paper investigates the design of a typical commercially available drop system for generating very high shock and drop accelerations. Some commercially available drop towers produce accelerations greater than 5000 G by utilizing the dynamics of secondary impact, using an attachment termed a dual mass shock amplifier (DMSA). Depending on the design, some DMSAs are capable of repeatedly generating accelerations as high as 100,000 G. The results show that a finite element model (FEM) can capture the peak acceleration for the drop tower and the DMSA within 15%. In this paper, a detailed description of the test equipment and modeling techniques is provided. The effects of different design parameters, such as table mass, spring stiffness, and programmer material properties, on the drop profile, are investigated through parametric modeling. The effects of contact parameters on model accuracy are explored, including constraint enforcement algorithms, contact stiffness, and contact damping. Simple closed-form analytic models are developed, based on the basic principles of a single impact and the dynamics of secondary impact. Model predictions are compared with test results. Details of the test methodology and simulations guidelines are provided. Detailed finite element analysis (FEA) is conducted and validated against the experimental tests and compared to the simplified theoretical simulations. Benefits in exploring FEM to simulate contact between materials can be extrapolated to different architectures and materials such that with minimal experimental validation impact acceleration can be determined.

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