Study on the fragmentation of shells

Falk K. Wittel, Ferenc Kun, Bernd H. Kröplin, Hans J. Herrmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Fragmentation can be observed in nature and in everyday life on a wide range of length scales and for all kinds of technical applications. Most studies on dynamic failure focus on the behaviour of bulk systems in one, two and three dimensions under impact and explosive loading, showing universal power law behaviour of fragment size distribution. However, hardly any studies have been devoted to fragmentation of shells. We present a detailed experimental and theoretical study on the fragmentation of closed thin shells of various materials, due to an excess load inside the system and impact with a hard wall. Characteristic fragmentation mechanisms are identified by means of a high speed camera and fragment shapes and mass distributions are evaluated. Theoretical rationalisation is given by means of stochastic break-up models and large-scale discrete element simulations with spherical shell systems under different extreme loading situations. By this we explain fragment shapes and distributions and prove a power law for the fragment mass distribution. Satisfactory agreement between experimental findings and numerical predictions of the exponents of the power laws for the fragment shapes is obtained

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-254
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Fracture
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006


  • Computer simulation
  • Explosion
  • Fragmentation
  • Scaling
  • Shell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Mechanics of Materials

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    Wittel, F. K., Kun, F., Kröplin, B. H., & Herrmann, H. J. (2006). Study on the fragmentation of shells. International Journal of Fracture, 140(1-4), 243-254.