In our laboratory, any ‘sensitive’ tests are carried out using our Hermès launcher, which is equipped at its end with a firing-range chamber. However, to further enhance safety for operators during tests on hazardous materials, we have recently equipped this test facility with a primary chamber including a fast-acting containment valve. Its purpose is to fully contain the reaction of a reactive or contaminating material within a primary chamber, which itself is installed inside the secondary chamber. This secondary chamber can be handled independently of the rest of the installation, thus protecting the operators from any sources of contamination.
The projectile is fired by the launcher and passes through the valve before reaching the target inside the chamber. The valve closes before the impact, so that products from the reaction of the impacted material remain contained within the chamber.
This fast-acting valve is compatible with tests at speeds of up to 5 km/s. Its innovation lies in the fact that it works without the need for a pyrotechnic system.