A parametric approach to shape field relevant blast wave profiles in compressed gas-driven shock tube

A. Sundaramurthy, Namas Chandra

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31 Scopus citations


Detonation of a high explosive produces shock-blast wave, shrapnel, and gaseous products. While direct exposure to blast is a concern near the epicenter, shock-blast can affect subjects, even at farther distances. When a pure shock-blast wave encounters the subject, in the absence of shrapnels, fall, or gaseous products the loading is termed as primary blast loading and is the subject of this paper. The wave profile is characterized by blast overpressure, positive time duration, and impulse and called herein as shock-blast wave parameters (SWPs). These parameters in turn are uniquely determined by the strength of high explosive and the distance of the human subjects from the epicenter. The shape and magnitude of the profile determine the severity of injury to the subjects. As shown in some of our recent works (Chandra et al., 2011;Sundaramurthy et al., 2012;Skotak et al., 2013), the profile not only determines the survival of the subjects (e.g. animals) but also the acute and chronic biomechanical injuries along with the following bio-chemical sequelae. It is extremely important to carefully design and operate the shock tube to produce field relevant SWPs. Furthermore, it is vital to identify and eliminate the artifacts that are inadvertently introduced in the shock-blast profile that may affect the results. In this work, we examine the relationship between shock tube adjustable parameters (SAPs) and SWPs that can be used to control the blast profile the results can be easily applied to many of the laboratory shock tubes. Further, replication of shock profile (magnitude and shape) can be related to field explosions and can be a standard in comparing results across different laboratories. 40 experiments are carried out by judiciously varying SAPs such as membrane thickness, breech length (66.68 to 1209.68 mm), measurement location, and type of driver gas (nitrogen, helium). The effects SAPs have on the resulting shock-blast profiles are shown. Also, the shock-blast profiles of a TNT explosion from ConWep software is compared with the profiles obtained from the shock tube. To conclude, our experimental results demonstrate that a compressed gas shock tube when designed and operated carefully can replicate the blast time profiles of field explosions accurately. Such a faithful replication is an essential, first step when studying the effects of blast induced neurotrauma using animal models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number00253
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Issue numberNOV
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


  • Blast induced neurotrauma
  • Explosion modeling
  • Primary blast injury
  • Shock tube
  • Shock tube adjustable parameters (SAPs)
  • Shock wave parameters (SWPs)


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