Verification and validation of the flag hydrocode for impact cratering simulations

Wendy K. Caldwell, Abigail Hunter, Catherine S. Plesko, Stephen Wirkus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Verification and validation (V&V) are necessary processes to ensure accuracy of the computational methods used to solve problems key to vast numbers of applications and industries. Simulations are essential for addressing impact cratering problems, because these problems often exceed experimental capabilities. Here, we show that the free Lagrange (FLAG) hydrocode, developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos, NM), can be used for impact cratering simulations by verifying FLAG against two analytical models of aluminum-on-aluminum impacts at different impact velocities and validating FLAG against a glass-into-water laboratory impact experiment. Our verification results show good agreement with the theoretical maximum pressures, with relative errors as low in magnitude as 1.00%. Our validation results demonstrate FLAG's ability to model various stages of impact cratering, with crater radius relative errors as low as 3.48% and crater depth relative errors as low as 0.79%. Our mesh resolution study shows that FLAG converges at resolutions low enough to reduce the required computation time from about 28 h to about 25 min. We anticipate that FLAG can be used to model larger impact cratering problems with increased accuracy and decreased computational cost on current systems relative to other hydrocodes tested by Pierazzo et al. (2008, “Validation of Numerical Codes for Impact and Explosion Cratering: Impacts on Strengthless and Metal Targets,” MAPS, 43(12), pp. 1917-1938).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number031004
JournalJournal of Verification, Validation and Uncertainty Quantification
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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