Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Borg, John

Second Advisor

Bowman, Anthony

Third Advisor

Fleischmann, Johnathan


The scientific community is interested in furthering the understanding of shock wave structures in water, given its implications in a wide range of applications; from researching how shock waves penetrate unwanted body tissues to studying how humans respond to blast waves. Shock wave research on water has existed for over five decades. Previous studies have investigated the shock response of water at pressures ranging from 1 to 70 GPa using flyer plate experiments. This report differs from previously published experiments in that the water was loaded to shock pressures ranging from 0.36 to 0.70 GPa. The experiment also utilized tap water rather than distilled water as the test sample. Flyer plate experiments were conducted in the Shock Physics Laboratory at Marquette University to determine the structure of shock waves within water. A 12.7 mm bore gas gun fired a projectile made of copper, PMMA, or aluminum at a stationary target filled with tap water. Graphite break pins in a circuit determined the initial projectile velocity prior to coming into contact with the target. A Piezoelectric timing pin (PZT pin) at the front surface of the water sample determined the arrival of the leading wave and a Photon Doppler Velocimeter (PDV) measured particle velocity from the rear surface of the water sample. The experimental results were compared to simulated data from a Eulerian Hydrocode called CTH [1]. The experimental results differed from the simulated results with deviations believed to be from experimental equipment malfunctions. The main hypothesis being that the PZT pin false triggered, resulting in measured lower than expected shock velocities. The simulated results were compared to published data from various authors and was within range.