A scale-model blunt-cone capsule intended for ocean splashdown was projected into a water pool to evaluate impact loads and postimpact behavior. In a small region of the speed/angle parameter space, the capsule would reproducibly capsize, flipping forward (pitch-down), despite a pitch-up motion induced at impact. Inspection of high-speed video shows that the resurging central jet of the impact cavity is responsible. Capsize occurs when this jet is energetic enough (for which we develop a simple criterion), and is timed to lift the trailing edge of the vehicle. The same phenomenon was observed on the Apollo capsules, and may be relevant for lifeboat deployment from ships and offshore platforms.
Inversion of a Capsule Impacting Water: Flip by Resurge Jet
Contributed by the Ocean, Offshore, and Arctic Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF OFFSHORE MECHANICS AND ARCTIC ENGINEERING. Manuscript received July 5, 2014; final manuscript received March 20, 2015; published online April 17, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Solomon Yim. The United States Government retains, and by accepting the article for publication, the publisher acknowledges that the United States Government retains, a non-exclusive, paid-up, irrevocable, worldwide license to publish or reproduce the published form of this work, or allow others to do so, for United States Government purposes.
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Lorenz, R. D., Paul, M. V., Olds, D. W., Walsh, J., and Bierhaus, E. B. (August 1, 2015). "Inversion of a Capsule Impacting Water: Flip by Resurge Jet." ASME. J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng. August 2015; 137(4): 044501. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4030289
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