Hypervelocity Impact Response of Honeycomb Sandwich Panels


Man-made orbital poses a serious threat to spacecraft that are launched to operate in Earth orbit because it can strike such spacecraft at very high velocities and consequently damage mission-critical systems. This paper describes the findings of a study whose objective was to develop a system of empirical equations that can be used to predict the trajectories and spread of the debris clouds that exit the rear facesheet following a high speed perforating impact of a honeycomb sandwich panel (HC/SP). These equations are based on a database containing the results of nearly 400 tests from 13 previously published papers and reports. Overall the correlation coefficient values for the various regression equations obtained are fairly reasonable, and range from near 60% to well above 90%. This indicates that the chosen forms of the equations are a good fit to the data, and that they are capable of picking up most of the variations in the data that result from changes in test conditions. These equations can now be used to estimate the amount of mass in a debris cloud if an HC/SP is perforated by a high speed impact, where this mass will travel, and what spacecraft components will be impacted by it. This information can then be fed into a risk assessment code to calculate the probability of spacecraft failure under a prescribed set of impact conditions.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


Humboldt Foundation

Keywords and Phrases

Honeycomb Sandwich Panels; Hypervelocity Impact; Impact Damage; Orbital Debris; Regression

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





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