Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Blast Waves and How They Interact With Structures
  1. Dr IG Cullis, PhD BA AMIP, DERA Fellow Technical Leader Numerical Modelling1
  1. 1Defence Research and Evaluation Agency, Fort Halstead, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN14 7BP


The paper defines and describes blast waves, their interaction with a structure and its subsequent response. Explosions generate blast waves, which need not be due to explosives. A blast wave consists of two parts: a shock wave and a blast wind. The paper explains how shock waves are formed and their basic properties. The physics of blast waves is non-linear and therefore non-intuitive. To understand how an explosion generates a blast wave a numerical modelling computer code, called a hydrocode has to be employed. This is briefly explained and the cAst Eulerian hydrocode is used to illustrate the formation and propagation of the blast wave generated by a 1 kg sphere of TNT explosive detonated 1 m above the ground. The paper concludes with a discussion of the response of a structure to a blast wave and shows that this response is governed by the structures natural frequency of vibration compared to the duration of the blast wave. The basic concepts introduced are illustrated in a second simulation that introduces two structures into the blast field of the TNT charge.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.