Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Degree Level



Mechanical Engineering


Spearot, Douglas E.

Committee Member/Reader

Jensen, David C.


This research uses atomistic simulations to examine the behavior of nanocrystalline Cu under impact at ballistic speeds. The advantage of using atomistic simulations to study shock induced deformation is that a real-time picture of the evolution of the microstructure can be attained, whereas experimentally this is not possible. Specifically, molecular dynamics simulations are used to build models of the material and run the simulations. Six cases are explored: Single crystal Cu loaded along the <100>, <110>, and <111> directions, and nanocrystalline samples with average grain diameters of 5, 10, and 15 nm. The target to flyer ratio is varied to generate different shock pulse shapes and to provide comparisons between models. The free surface velocity is measured and used as an indicator of the energy transmitted through the material and the severity of spall damage within the sample.