- Magnesium aluminate spinel is a strong polycrystalline transparent ceramic. Spinel is an attractive material for armor applications and its behavior under shock wave loading is of obvious interest. The purpose of the present study was to determine the Hugoniot elastic limit (HEL) of this material, its Hugoniot response above the HEL, and its spall strength. Planar impact experiments were performed over the 2 to 40 GPa stress range using the Velocity Interferometer System for Any Reflector (VISAR) as a principal diagnostics tool. According to these tests, spinel has a HEL of about 11.3 GPa. The spall strength of the material was found to be close to zero at low, about 2 GPa, impact stress.