Evolution of blast wave profiles in simulated air blasts: Experiment and computational modeling

N. Chandra, S. Ganpule, N. N. Kleinschmit, R. Feng, A. D. Holmberg, A. Sundaramurthy, V. Selvan, A. Alai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Shock tubes have been extensively used in the study of blast traumatic brain injury due to increased incidence of blast-induced neurotrauma in Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. One of the important aspects in these studies is how to best replicate the field conditions in the laboratory which relies on reproducing blast wave profiles. Evolution of the blast wave profiles along the length of the compression-driven air shock tube is studied using experiments and numerical simulations with emphasis on the shape and magnitude of pressure time profiles. In order to measure dynamic pressures of the blast, a series of sensors are mounted on a cylindrical specimen normal to the flow direction. Our results indicate that the blast wave loading is significantly different for locations inside and outside of the shock tube. Pressure profiles inside the shock tube follow the Friedlander waveform fairly well. Upon approaching exit of the shock tube, an expansion wave released from the shock tube edges significantly degrades the pressure profiles. For tests outside the shock tube, peak pressure and total impulse reduce drastically as we move away from the exit and majority of loading is in the form of subsonic jet wind. In addition, the planarity of the blast wave degrades as blast wave evolves three dimensionally. Numerical results visually and quantitatively confirm the presence of vortices, jet wind and three-dimensional expansion of the planar blast wave near the exit. Pressure profiles at 90° orientation show flow separation. When cylinder is placed inside, this flow separation is not sustained, but when placed outside the shock tube this flow separation is sustained which causes tensile loading on the sides of the cylinder. Friedlander waves formed due to field explosives in the intermediate-to far-field ranges are replicated in a narrow test region located deep inside the shock tube.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-415
Number of pages13
JournalShock Waves
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


  • Blast wave
  • Expansion
  • Experiments
  • Jet wind
  • Numerical simulations
  • Pressure profiles
  • Shock tube
  • TBI


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