Ballistics

In our previous article we have studied projectiles, what is projectile motion, and many more projectile-related concepts. In this session, let us look into the flight, flight behaviour, path through various sources like air, object, target, and also how projectiles are designed and accelerated. Let us know in brief about ballistics.

What is Ballistics?

Ballistics is a science of projectiles that deals with propulsion, flight, and impact of projectiles. Ballistics also deals with the art of designing different types of projectiles for different performances and consequences. The term ballistics is derived from the Greek word ballein, which means “to throw”

A ballistic missile refers to the object/body that takes a ballistic trajectory to deliver a missile/s on a fixed target. Now let us know how ballistics is classified.

Types of Ballistic

Ballistics is classified into four types, they are:

  • Internal Ballistics
  • Transitional Ballistics
  • External Ballistics
  • Terminal Ballistics

Internal Ballistics

Internal ballistics is also known as initial ballistics or interior ballistics. Internal ballistics deals with what takes place in a duration of about two milliseconds from the point of firing the pin or striker, to the exit of the bullet through the muzzle end of the barrel. It is the first phase that involves the analysis of the propulsion and the flight of projectiles.

Consider a bullet fired from a rifle. It has more energy when compared to being fired from a shotgun. This is because the energy of the bullet differs from one source to another. This propulsion of a bullet from a shotgun and a rifle is explained in the internal ballistics. The internal ballistics is involved in the study of the bullet when released from the source.

Transitional Ballistics

It is also known as intermediate ballistics. It involves the mediator between two regimes (internal and external ballistics). Intermediate ballistics is a process that initiates soon after the propagation of a bullet. It deals with the study of the behaviour of the projectiles from propagation to the time it gets equalization of pressure.

External Ballistics

It is concerned with the flight of the bullet after leaving the barrel. It is the second phase that studies the condition when the bullet is about to hit the target and leaves the projectile. It analyzes the path of a projectile.

Terminal Ballistics

The last phase of the ballistics is known as terminal ballistics. It deals with the impact of projectiles. This helps to understand how one can know about the wounded ballistics. A projectile can get injured in three different ways:

  • Shock waves
  • Cavitation
  • Laceration and crushing

See the video below, to understand projectile motion in a better way.


Applications of Ballistics

  1. It is mainly used in criminal investigations that involve gun shots. Ballistics aids to inspect the path travelled by the bullet from source to target.
  2. Ballistics together with celestial mechanics is applied in the field of astrodynamics to study the motion of spacecraft and rockets. It is a key concept in launching the rocket.

Hope you have learned about ballistics as well as its applications. Stay tuned with BYJU’S to know about various interesting science and maths concepts.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What is ballistics?

Ballistics is a science of projectiles that deals with propulsion, flight, and impact of projectiles.

What are the types of ballistics?

The following are the types of ballistics:

  • Internal Ballistics
  • Transitional Ballistics
  • External Ballistics
  • Terminal Ballistics

Which is the first phase of ballistics?

Internal ballistics is the first phase since it involves the analysis of the propulsion and the flight of projectiles.

State true or false: Ballistic fingerprints are made by the gun on the bullet and cartridge case.

True.

Name the fields in which ballistics is used.

Ballistics is used in:

  • Forensic investigations
  • Astrodynamics

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