Civil Engineering ETDs

Publication Date



The penetration of one object into a larger mass may well have been one of the earliest interests of man. History shows that early man was well aware of the occurrence of the penetration event by his use of spears and other projectiles in his search for food. Interest in penetration events has been continuous through man's development. Today this interest has even outstripped man's natural environment to include the serious study of penetration into extra-terrestrial bodies such as the lunar surface.

The Problem:

The penetration of many materials is currently being studied by many investigators. Some of the materials being studied include metals, other structural materials, water, rocks, soils, et cetera. The purposes of these investigations are as varied as the materials being studied, ranging from scientific curiosity to survival in warfare. None of the investigations conducted have achieved a clear understanding of the exact physical phenomena involved in the penetration event. It is hoped that the experimental investigation described herein may serve as a small contribution to such an understanding for the limited area that was considered.

The present investigation is concerned with the penetration of an object into the surface of the earth. Since the materials of the earth's surface range from very hard igneous rocks to water, it is apparent that such a phenomenon is extremely complex. By the selec­tion of one specific type of earth surface material, a granular medium having no cohesion, the phenomenon can be considerably simplified.

Elimination of the stratification and combinations of granular materials that exist in nature by selecting a uniform medium can result in further simplification. Finally, by deliberate selection and arrangement of the medium used as a target, a study can be performed in two dimensions rather than the three dimensions found in nature.

The problem considered by this report is to investigate, by experiments conducted at constant velocity, some aspects of the penetra­tion of a blunt body into a two-dimensional granular target medium having no cohesion.

Document Type




Degree Name

Civil Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Civil Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Jose Eleazar Martinez

Second Committee Member

John Bryan Carney Jr.

Third Committee Member

Marvin Clark May