Scale-Dependent Measurements of Meteorite Strength and Fragmentation: Tamdakht (H5) and Allende (CV3).
Monday, 14 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Meteorites are pieces of natural space debris, which have survived ejection from their parent bodies and passage through the Earth’s atmosphere. As such, they provide a unique opportunity to study the fundamental physical and mechanical properties of early Solar System materials. But to date, few direct studies of physical properties have been conducted on meteoritic materials, in contrast to extensive chemical and isotopic analyses. It is important to determine these properties as they are related to disruption and fragmentation of bolides and asteroids, and activities related to sample return and hazardous asteroid mitigation. Here we present results from an ongoing suite of scale-dependent studies of meteorite strength and fragmentation. The meteorites studied are Tamdakht (H5), an ordinary chondrite that exhibits a heterogeneous structure criss-crossed with shock veins and centimeter-sized regions of white and light grey, and the carbonaceous chondrite Allende (CV3), which suitable pieces are light grey with abundant chondrules and CAIs. Uniaxial compression tests are performed on meteorite cubes ranging from 0.5 to 4 centimeters using an Instron 5985 frame with a 250 kN load cell and compression fixtures with 145mm diameter radial platens. All tests are conducted at room temperature and in displacement control with a displacement rate of 0.25 mm per minute to ensure quasi-static conditions. A three-dimensional digital image correlation (DIC) system that enables noncontact measurement of displacement and strain fields is also used. Analysis of the strength and failure process of the two meteorite types is conducted and compared to terrestrial materials.