Predicting the consequences of highly energetic particle beams impacting protection devices as collimators or high power target stations is a fundamental issue in the design of state-of-the-art facilities for high-energy particle physics. These complex dynamic phenomena can be successfully simulated resorting to highly non-linear numerical tools (Hydrocodes). In order to produce accurate results, however, these codes require reliable material constitutive models that, at the extreme conditions induced by a destructive beam impact, are scarce and often inaccurate. In order to derive or validate such models a comprehensive, first-of-its-kind experiment has been recently carried out at CERN HiRadMat facility: performed tests entailed the controlled impact of intense and energetic proton pulses on a number of specimens made of six different materials. Experimental data were acquired relying on embedded instrumentation (strain gauges, temperature probes and vacuum sensors) and on remote-acquisition devices (laser Doppler vibrometer and high-speed camera). The method presented in this paper, combining experimental measurements with numerical simulations, may find applications to assess materials under very high strain rates and temperatures in domains well beyond particle physics (severe accidents in fusion and fission nuclear facilities, space debris impacts, fast and intense loadings on materials and structures etc.). (c) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.