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Depleted Uranium

  1. Nov 15, 2006 #1
    So one of the big advantages to using depleted uranium (DU) rather than tungsten in anti-tank rounds is because a DU projectile will self sharpen upon impact whereas a tungsten projectile will flatten or "pancake".

    http://deploymentlink.osd.mil/du_library/how.shtml

    What is it about DU that enables this self sharpening property? My best guess is due the pyrophoric nature of uranium, but I assume there has to be more to it. (I am looking for a materials science/chemistry related explanation)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 16, 2006 #2

    Andrew Mason

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    I believe it is because the molecules of uranium metal in contact with the target ignite from the heat and break off and leaving the cooler interior metal intact. So instead of the metal flattening and staying together, the target acts like a kind of pencil sharpener heating up and removing the uranium that it is in contact with.

    AM
     
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